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Lethal drug labs seized by combined law enforcement effort.



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Media Release SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON Minister for Justice and Customs

Manager of Government Business in the Senate Senator for Western Australia

E061 /0 5 17 May 2005

Lethal drug labs seized by combined law enforcement effort The seizure of five backyard illicit drug producing laboratories and the arrest of seven people involved in their operation sounds a warning to illicit drug manufacturers, the Ministe r for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said today.

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) coordinated operation, codenamed Project Chillaton , involved searches and seizures across the country in a combined effort with the Queensland Police Servi ce, NSW Police Service, Victoria Police, Tasmanian Police, South Australian Police, Northern Territory Police and the Western Australia Police Service.

“This operation sends a clear message to those involved in illicit drug manufacture that national and state law enforcement agencies are working successfully together to arrest them and dismantle their dangerous operations, ” Senator Ellison said .

“As the Federal Government’s current advertising campaign reveals, you never know what deadly substances are b eing used in the illicit drug making process, or what affect they will have on an individual. It is imperative that this scourge is removed.”

Further to the seizure of the labs, the operation has also taken substantial amounts of precursor chemicals, fir earms and other weapons, an estimated $100,000 worth of methylamphetamines, a small amount of ecstasy, quantities of cannabis, and significant amounts of glassware used to establish clandestine laboratories.

According to the ACC’s Illicit Drug Data Repo rt 2003 -04 , detections of clandestine laboratories have continued to increase since 1996, with 358 seized in Australia last financial year. Large -scale clandestine laboratories can produce drugs worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

The majority of seized laboratories are used for the production of amphetamine -type stimulants, the report revealed.

“While Clandestine laboratories create dangers for their operators, people living in close proximity and investigative officers, children a re especially vulnerable due to their lower tolerances to the toxicity of the chemicals used to make illicit drugs,” Senator Ellison said.

“Congratulations to the ACC and the state law enforcement agencies involved in Project Chillaton . This is another e xcellent example of the success we are having combating illicit drug manufacture and production.”

Media inquiries: Michael Barrett (02) 6277 7260 or 0419 424 359

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/ justiceministerHome.nsf