Drug tip-off leads to arrest
DOBBING in a drug dealer is only a phone call away and plenty of local informants are letting their fingers do the walking.
Figures released by the Warwick Police show that calls from the public to the hotline have led to the seizure of nearly $360,000 worth of illicit drugs and cash from drug sales in the region since the start of last year.
Other drug raids have resulted from information given directly to the local police, but with informants able to call Crime Stoppers anonymously – and in some cases in line for a reward – the service is proving its worth.
A spokesman for the Queensland Police Crime Stoppers Unit said around 90 per cent of the drugs found in local raids has been cannabis, testimony to the continued hold the leafy substance has on drug users.
Charges laid have been a combination of possession and production of cannabis offences, with the weed being cultivated both in the great outdoors and in hydroponic operations inside homes.
Less common but still of concern is the possession of amphetamine powder or ‘speed’, which is commonly produced in backyard drug labs, none of which have been detected here in the past 18 months.
The Warwick Police District takes in Stanthorpe and Goondiwindi and is overseen by Inspector Greg Morrow.
He said in 2009 a total of 34 calls had been received by Crime Stoppers from the local area, which led to 15 arrests and 43 charges.
“Drugs seized by police as a result of those operations came to a total of $308,967, which is a significant amount of illicit drugs to be removed from the market,” Inspector Morrow said.
“To date in 2010 Crime Stoppers has received 14 calls from the public, which have in turn led to six arrests and 13 charges being laid.
“We have located a total of $41,175 worth of drugs and recovered around $7800 in cash being proceeds from the sale of drugs.
“This is still a pleasing result but I would encourage more people to come forward to Crime Stoppers or directly to local police during the remainder of 2010.
“Rewards can be available which is an added incentive to provide information.”
Insp Morrow said he was also heartened by renewed interest locally in the Crime Stoppers committee, now made up of around 30 volunteers after facing closure.
The recent figures do not include a $500 million cannabis bust at a remote Inglewood property in July 2008.
Those charged – father and son Michael Bennett Gardner Senior and Junior, Rosemary Gardner and Benjamin George Sutherland – face numerous counts which are still proceeding through the courts.
Gardner Snr and Jnr have been committed for trial in the Supreme Court but no date has yet been set.
In other drug crime news, Warwick Police on Friday night arrested a truck driver who was found to be in possession of around $20,000 worth of amphetamine.
A spokesman said the 30-year-old from Glen Innes in northern NSW was apprehended at a public toilet block on Wood Street.
“Police received information from the public that the toilets were being used for the purpose of taking drugs,” the spokesman said.
“This individual was intercepted and searched and found to be in possession of approximately 50 grams of amphetamine.”
The man was released on bail and is due to appear in the Warwick Magistrates Court on October 12.
How does Crime Stoppers work?
- Information about a crime given to Crime Stoppers is passed on to the nearest police district
- Callers remain anonymous, phone calls are not recorded and callers are allocated a code number, which allows them to provide further information, check on the progress of investigations and to collect a reward
- Information can include dates, times, places, names, addressed, vehicle registrations, location of drugs, firearms and other items connected with criminal activity
- For more information on how Crime Stoppers operates and details of current and unsolved crimes visit www.qld.crimestoppers.com.au