Drug labs find Rivers home
A STAGGERING 21 of the 96 clandestine drug laboratories raided in NSW last year were found on the Northern Rivers.
While the statewide haul represents a 43% increase on 2009 figures, NSW Drug Squad Detective Inspector Nick Iorfino said the local spike was greater – though he cautions against interpreting that as a drug-crime surge.
“Seventy per cent of labs are found through pro-active investigations, and I know the Tweed-Byron, Richmond and Coffs-Clarence commands have been very pro-active in their investigations, so it is probably as much a reflection on the good work they’ve been doing.
“It’s important to note that these statistics can vary dramatically from year-to-year, so they’re not indicative of certain areas having a lab problem.”
Insp Iorfino said that “clan lab” detections for Northern Rivers commands in the first quarter of this year were considerably down.
“These labs can be set up anywhere and they usually look for areas they can avoid police detection, which is why we ask the community to keep us informed,” he said.
“The visual indicators are blackened windows, unusual chemical containers, unusual traffic at odd hours or strong smells.”
Suspicious activity can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
“You’re dealing with chemicals that are poisonous, toxic or carcinogenetic in so-called back-yard laboratory set-ups in residences, industrial areas and farmhouses there’s no quality control, attention to dealing with the waste or the toxic fumes and contaminants from the process.”
Top 10 NSW police commands for raided drug labs In 2010:
- Coffs/Clarence LAC- 11
- Tweed/Byron LAC- 7
- Green Valley LAC- 6
- North Shore LAC- 5
- Holroyd LAC- 5
- Liverpool LAC- 4
- Goulburn LAC- 4
- Far South Coast LAC- 4
- Richmond LAC- 3
- Mt Druitt LAC- 3