Destroying the Power Base

Destroying the Power Base

National News

• $36 million worth of assets under investigation.
• 900 arrests for drug related offences since November 2009
• 80 percent increase in recorded offences for trafficking methamphetamine since November 2009
• 130 percent increase in recorded apprehensions for trafficking offences since November 2009

Gangs and organised criminals are being targeted by staff around the country using new civil forfeiture legislation and a nationwide methamphetamine focus.

Since the civil forfeiture legislation came into force in December last year Police have identified $36 million worth of assets believed to have been obtained through criminal activity.

Of the assets under investigation $11 million has been successfully restrained under the new legislation and are under the control of the official assignee pending court processes. A further $9 million are being held by Police.

Of the $36 million under investigation, $25 million has been gained through drug offending - of which $14 million is identified as methamphetamine related.

Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope says the legislation significantly enhances Police's ability to follow the money trail of organised criminals.

"If we look at what we were able to restrain under the old legislation compared to the new it makes for a staggering comparison."

For all of the 2010 financial year to February (8 months) under the old legislation, Police restrained $7 million worth of assets. In the first three months of the new civil forfeiture legislation $11 million has been restrained.

The new legislation allows for the proceeds of crime to be forfeited to the crown based on the civil standard of proof (balance of probabilities) rather than being solely dependent on securing a criminal conviction.

Assets being held now are the subject of court cases which will decide whether the assets are forfeited to the Crown.

The assets include millions of dollars in cash, houses, vehicles and other property. Targets in these investigations include members of the Killer Beez, Asian gangs, Outcasts, Mongrel Mob and Headhunters.

Mr Pope says the asset restraint comes on top of over 900 arrests for drug related offences since November in operations run as part of the Methamphetamine Control Strategy.

"All police districts have had a sustained focus on methamphetamine offending since the control strategy was activated in November last year. This has meant a focus on targeting the top methamphetamine offenders and trafficking offences.

In the three months from November 09 to Feb 10 there has been a 130 percent increase in apprehensions for methamphetamine related offences on the same time period last year.

Over the same time period there was an 80 percent increase in recorded trafficking of methamphetamine/amphetamine offences.

"The work of the past few months will have disrupted organised crime networks in the illicit drugs business throughout the country," Mr Pope said.

ENDS

Jane Archibald
04 4749442