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Drug seizure

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Statement by the Minister for Customs and Excise, Senator the Honourable Lionel Murphy, Q.C.

The Minister for Customs and Excise, Senator Lionel Murphy, today announced two large seizures of hashish and hashish oil in Sydney. .

In total, 160 kilos of hashish and 1j kilos of hashish oil have been seized, which have a street value of nearly $4 million.

This is the largest quantity of this type of drug ever seized in Australia.

Senator Murphy said that in both cases the drugs were imported in ordinary cargo and were detected by officers of the Customs Department, including officers of the Narcotics Bureau.

One person has already been charged and at least six others are being questioned. Two of these are officers from the Customs Department.

Senator Murphy said that hashish and particularly hashish oil is a very powerful drug. Even though it is produced from marihuana, it is extremely more potent.

He said that as part of the Department's anti-narcotic activity, Strike Forces are in operation to detect such importĀ­ ations. These Strike Forces, which detected these drugs, comprise officers from the various sections of the Department concerned with the importation of cargo by ship, air or by air freight.

The sophisticated methods used by criminal syndicates have called for equally sophisticated methods by the Department. The officers of the Narcotics Bureau use the back-up of officers from all sections of the Department to detect drug

importations. '

Senator Murphy said that it was not physically possible to examine the millions of tons of cargo imported into Australia. Obviously large quantities of drugs avoid Customs control. The size of these seizures indicated that Australia's drug

problem is very real. To solve it required the co-operation of all sections of the population.


3 November 1 973