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Early arrests show value of trafficking operation.

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs

Senator Amanda Vanstone

Early arrests show value of trafficking operation

Media Release ID: vIPS 01/06

The weekend arrests of four people in the remote cross-border region of Central Australia shows that the new Substance Abuse Intelligence Desk (SAID) funded by the Australian Government was already proving its worth, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today.

‘SAID was launched by the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian police forces only last Thursday and already four offenders have been arrested in possession of drugs,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘The arrests resulted from the first of many planned joint police operations targeting these remote cross-border regions.

‘The arrests are evidence there is trafficking in substances in the central desert region and show the importance of the States/Territories working closely together, as well as with the Australian Government, on issues crucial to the survival of many remote Indigenous communities.’

The establishment of SAID, which is based in Alice Springs, was made possible by the Australian Government’s commitment of $500,000 in September 2005 to help States and Territories crack down on illegal trafficking of petrol and other substances in Central Australia.

‘SAID is an important initiative, involving cooperation across three States and Territories. It will collate intelligence and coordinate policing activities in an area that has traditionally been under-policed,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘Traffickers are bringing in petrol and drugs, targeting people in Indigenous communities. As a result they’re bringing injury, death and the destructive behaviour associated with substance abuse.’

23 January 2006

For further information, read the media release from the Northern Territory Police.