Bikie gangs finding new sources of meth from Afghanistan
The illicit drug methamphetamine has been smuggled into Australia from Afghanistan at an alarming rate since the Taliban took control, authorities warned today.
Outlaw bikies gangs had been seeking to buy the recreational drug from crime networks in Pakistan and other countries, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.
Since 2021, more than 250kg of Afghan-produced methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $225 million, had been intercepted.
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Last year Australian authorities seized 26kg of Afghan-produced methamphetamine in 19 separate imports alone, the majority destined for New South Wales and hidden inside packages sent through international mail.
Following these successes, global drug rings exporting Afghan-produced methamphetamine to Australia have tried to disguise its origin, the AFP said.
They are now redirecting consignments of the recreational drug through other supply chains in the region.
A new forensic laboratory in Sydney opening today will play a major role to identify drug imports.
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AFP Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dametto said the facility will help track and disrupt methamphetamine shipments.
"The new AFP forensics facility and equipment will play a major role in the AFP's work to identify these illicit drug imports, such as Afghan-produced methamphetamine, and their origins."
"With many of these illicit drug imports bound for Australia via Sydney, our members in our laboratory will be working to assist our investigators to identify, track and disrupt the criminal groups attempting to import these harmful illicit drugs into our country, and respond to that threat."
Afghanistan is the world's biggest producer of opium which is harvested from poppy plants and used for making heroin.
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After it overthrew the pro-western government in 2021, the Taliban banned the cultivation, production and transportation of illicit drugs.
But Afghan farmers have faced failing harvests causing a major food crisis in the country and have turned to crops of opium as an alternative source of income.