A fourth person has been charged in relation to the methamphetamine manufacture investigation in Nyngan, New South Wales, last Tuesday.
Methamphetamine (or methylamphetamine) is known as meth and is found in three forms, powder (speed), crystalline (ice or crystal meth) and base which is like a paste and typically injected.
Central North Police District established Strike Force Rudelle to investigate the manufacture of Methamphetamine at a Nyngan property in May 2022.
Police had two search warrants for separate properties in Nyngan.
They searched a property on the Mitchell Highway and found a clandestine laboratory where specialist police from the Drug and Firearms Squad’s Chemical Operations Team dismantled the equipment.
Two men aged 38 and 48 and a woman aged 29 were subsequently arrested and charged in June 2022.
After extensive inquiries officers arrested a further man, aged 26, on Oxley Street, Nyngan at about 3:30pm last Tuesday.
He was charged with offences relating to unauthorised firearms, criminal activity, taking part in the manufacture of a prohibited drug and possession of a prohibited drug.
Police will allege in court that the four people charged were transporting a portable clandestine lab between Nyngan and Narromine.
How to spot a meth lab
Ice labs throughout Australia can be set up in factories, backyard sheds, rural properties, apartments, family homes, hotel rooms, and even inside caravans and tents in the bush.
Clandestine-type labs create a lot of toxic waste, have strange odours and strong acetone smells, and may have blacked-out windows.
South Australia Crime Stoppers’ website provides more tips about how to spot a meth lab.
Far West residents can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and share information anonymously if they suspect methamphetamine production is happening in the area.
Methamphetamine use in Australia
Michael Phelan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), released the sixteenth report National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program on June 30.
“Organised crime groups have redoubled their efforts to supply the major illicit drug markets as COVID-19 restrictions eased, generating significant illicit revenue, but they continue to face challenges, not least from law enforcement agencies,” Mr Phelan said.
Australia had the highest methamphetamine consumption per capita compared with data from 24 other countries across Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The program focussed on twelve licit and illicit drugs, including Methamphetamine.
“Through wastewater analysis, we gain insight into serious and organised crime groups that supply illicit drug markets,” Mr Phelan said.
“Much of the harm Australians suffer at the hands of organised crime is due to illicit drugs. Serious and organised crime groups profit from the importation, manufacture, trafficking and sale of drugs that cause harm to the community,” he said.
There has also been an increase in people seeking treatment for methamphetamine use, according to the Australian Government’s Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
The survey found that 1.2 million Australians over the age of 14 had used Methamphetamine (including ice, speed or base).
One per cent of these people reported recent use in the past twelve months, and half of those had used ice.
Earlier this year, methamphetamine use was identified as a drug of concern by the Australian Government’s Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) due to the increase in the number of people who sought treatment over the past ten years.
Of the 16,800 amphetamine treatments in 2011-12, almost 1 in 5 (2788 treatments) were due to Methamphetamine.
Whereas by 2020-21, there were 54,001 amphetamine treatments; of these, Methamphetamine specific treatments increased to 4 in 5 (or 42,392).
The increase was attributed to a range of factors, including better-funded treatment services.
If people are struggling with methamphetamine addiction, there is free and confidential advice available from the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline 1800 250 015.
Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at www.counsellingonline.org.au.
More information about addiction and treatment is available from the Turning Point website at www.turningpoint.org.au