Pubdate: Fri, 26 Oct 2007
Source: Daily Mercury, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2007 APN News & Media Ltd


GOLD COAST drug dealers are targeting young, affluent people in the 
Mackay party scene to deal the dangerous methamphetamine ice.

Mackay police Acting Sergeant John Kerslake said investigations 
showed drug dealers associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, 
including the Finks, and Gold Coast business men were targeting young 
party goers to sell ice and ecstasy pills.

"Distributors start off by giving freebies, and then they start 
selling it to them and suggest they can make money and support their 
own usage by selling it to their friends," Act Sgt Kerslake said. 
"Before you know it these young people are driving to the Gold Coast 
to bring back between $100 and $1000 worth of ecstasy or methamphetamines.

"These young people come from good families these are good kids 
without criminal records," he said.

Act Sgt Kerslake said it appeared drug distributors were targeting 
Mackay because of the high disposable income amongst young people.

"It is profitable to be in Mackay," he said.

And it looks like those distributors are cashing in.

Act Sgt Kerslake said ecstasy and methamphetamine dealing and use had 
dramatically increased in Mackay through this year.

"Last year we would come across these drugs infrequently.

"ow we are dealing with it very regularly, we are finding more and 
larger quantities of it and we are charging people with major 
possession or supply offences," he said.

The latest methamphetamine haul was last Thursday.

A member of the public tipped off police to a 38-year-old man in 
possession of methamphetimines.

Police found 6.8 grams of what preliminary tests showed was ice, 
hidden in a candle and $20,000 in cash stashed in a wall cavity in a 
Mackay home. The man has been charged with possession of 
amphetamines. Act Sgt Kerslake said police were increasingly alarmed 
by the blase use of ice and ecstasy among the general young population.

"These kids are naive and willing to experiment. They think only 
druggies smoke cannabis they don't see pills (ecstasy) as the same. 
They see it as a party drug not an illicit drug."

Act Sgt Kerslake said their use of ice was similar.

"They call it 'gas' and put it in their drinks," he said.

But while Mackay youths were taking risks on the party scene, Act Sgt 
Kerslake said police and health workers were dealing with the other 
side of drugs.

"From what we are seeing at the coalface it causes the destruction of 
family networks, relationships and employment breakdown."

In Australia ice has become public enemy number one with graphic, 
Federal Government ads warning young people not to take the highly 
addictive drug.

Now that the destructive drug has penetrated the Mackay party scene 
police want to stop it in its tracks.

They are urging the public to dob in a drug dealer or user by calling 
Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 as part of their Drug Stoppers 
campaign. Since October 15 callers have helped spark 67 
investigations and 150 drug charges.
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