The 50-year-old former academic surnamed Lu had “a set of recipes for producing methcathinone”, a drug similar to methamphetamine, which he provided to dealers.
Amphetamine labs are growing at an alarming rate, a Chinese police raid on the house of two methcathinone dealers in 2011 uncovered a pile of 80 million yuan, $AU13 million, in cash.
In Australia Amphetamine arrests have nearly double in past five years, according to Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report. Trade workers and those in the hospitality industry are among the biggest users of the drug according to an analysis of national drug data.
Lu “worked as a professor of chemistry at a university” in Xian, the capital of the northern province of Shaanxi, before teaming up with a drug manufacturer surnamed Chen in 2013 ::::
Lu was arrested along with 16 other people said to be involved with the lab, the official Xinhua news agency said. The former academics alleged activities echo those of the fictional former professor Walter White, who sold “crystal meth” in the hit US TV show Breaking Bad.
Police detained Chen and six other people after finding 128 kilograms of methcathinone at a manufacturing facility in Shaanxi, along with 2,000 kilograms of ingredients for the drug last May, the report added.
Chinese state media last week cited the government as saying the country has 14 million drug users, about one per cent of the population, and their numbers had increased by an annual average of 36 per cent in recent years.
Use of synthetic drugs, such as crystal meth and methcathinone, which can induce euphoric highs, are reported to be growing in rural areas.
Chinese authorities deployed helicopters, speedboats and paramilitary police to seize three tonnes of methamphetamine last year in a raid on a village in the southern province of Guangdong.
A Chinese police raid on the house of two methcathinone dealers in 2011 uncovered a pile of 80 million yuan (about $13 million) in cash, reports said at the time.
Drug Crime at All-time High
Amphetamine arrests nearly double in past five years, according to Crime Commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report. The number of amphetamine arrests across Australia has almost doubled in the past five years, as crime authorities warn they have never seen any substance as destructive as crystal methylamphetamine, or ice.
The Australian Crime Commission – ACC – said police made a record 26,269 amphetamine arrests in 2013-14, up from 13,914 in 2009-10. ACC chief executive Chris Dawson said methylamphetamine was wreaking havoc in every state and territory, ruining lives, families and communities.
“In my 38 years in law enforcement, I have never seen a substance as destructive as methylamphetamine, particularly crystal methylamphetamine,” Mr Dawson said. “We are now seeing demand for methylamphetamine in areas where the drug has not previously been a significant issue. This includes urban and rural areas and disadvantaged communities where it is having a destructive impact.”
The new arrest figures form part of the Crime Commission’s 2013-14 Illicit Drug Data Report. The report, released on Friday, combined data from police, health services and academia to provide a snapshot of the nation’s illegal drug market. It revealed more than 740 clandestine laboratories used to make amphetamines were detected around the country, 340 of them in Queensland.
The report said the number of clandestine labs detected nationally had increased by 95 per cent over the past decade.
Most labs were found in suburban areas, with increases in rural and vehicle detections. The majority of labs were run by addicts, but last year there was an increase in the proportion of small-scale, medium-sized and industrial-scale labs.
Australian police seized a record 10 tonnes of the chemical benzaldehyde, which could have been used to produce up to 4.5 tonnes of methylamphetamine, equating to an estimated 45 million street deals with a value of $3.6 billion. The number of detections of amphetamines at the Australian border were also the highest on record, with 2,367 detections in 2013-14.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said ice posed the highest risk of all illicit drugs to the community because of the violent, menacing and irrational way people behave under its influence. The Federal Government’s National Ice Taskforce, formed to tackle the ice epidemic, began community consultation on Thursday in Mount Gambier, South Australia.
The Illicit Drug Data Report said there were more than 93,000 illicit drug seizures, 27 tonnes of drugs seized and more than 110,000 arrests in 2013-14. All figures are the highest on record. Cannabis continued to dominate the Australian drug market, with 66,684 arrests and 7,000 kilograms of the drug seized.
The report said while the methylamphetamine market was the primary concern for authorities, there were also a number of records reported across other drug markets, including the number of cannabis and hallucinogen arrests, opioid seizures and cocaine and steroid arrests and seizures.
Mr Dawson said serious and organised criminals were at the centre of the Australian illicit drug market.
“Motivated by greed and power, many of these groups and individuals use the illicit drug market as their primary income stream, profiting from the misery illicit drugs inflict on the nation,” Mr Dawson said.
RELATED! Hong Kong Citizen Charged with Importing 150kg of Crystal Methamphetamine Into Australia
May 15, 2015: A Hong Kong man has been charged with importing 150 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, which had a potential street value of up to $100 million, into Sydney. The 66-year-old man was arrested on Thursday at an address in Epping, in north-west Sydney, after the drugs, known as ice, were found hidden in cardboard barrels marked as “chemicals”.
Customs officers said they found six barrels with several plastic bags concealed inside when they searched a sea freight shipment late last month. The bags allegedly contained a white crystalline substance which tested positive for methamphetamine. The drugs were handed over to the Australian Federal Police.
NSW regional commander for Customs and Border Protection, Tim Fitzgerald, said “anomalies” were detected in a consignment that originated from Hong Kong.
“An X-ray was undertaken of the consignment itself, where an image X-ray expert identified anomalies within the consignment,” he said at a press conference in Sydney.” Mr Fitzgerald said. “As a result of that, the consignment was examined by our Customs officers and the detection was made of 150 kilograms of ice.”
Mr Fitzgerald recognised the efforts by Customs intelligence analysts associated with the ice seizure.
“They work 24/7 identifying high-risk cargo and people coming across our border,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “Through their efforts, they identified this particular consignment as being high-risk. Subsequently it was profiled and sent for examination at our container contamination facility and led to the actual seizure itself.”
An AFP spokesman said it was the biggest seizure in Australia so far this year, after almost 900 kilograms of ice was seized in November last year. The arrested man has been charged with importing and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border control drug, which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life or a $1.2 million fine or both.
RELATED! Illicit Drug-use Highest in ‘Blue-collar Jobs’
Trade workers and those in the hospitality industry are among the biggest users of the drug ice in the workforce, an analysis of national drug data has revealed. The figures also show that while unemployed people in percentage terms were more likely to use the drug ice than those with jobs, there were many more ice users in the workplace than the unemployment queue.
Flinders University drug and alcohol expert Dr Ken Pidd analysed data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey and spoke about the findings at a methamphetamine symposium in Melbourne earlier this month. Dr Pidd found there was ice use among all occupations, but it was more prevalent in some fields.
“Tradespersons, blue-collar workers, people who work in industries such as construction, mining, manufacturing and hospitality are the main industry and occupational groups with higher prevalence levels,” Dr Pidd said. “2.3 percent of the workforce have used methamphetamine at least once in the last 12 months, and that equates to about 230,000 people. That compares with about 5.6 per cent of unemployed people who have used, which only equates to about 50,000 people.”
As the National Ice Taskforce prepares to report its interim findings to Prime Minister Tony Abbott mid-year, Dr Pidd said overlooking the use of drugs in the workforce would be a mistake.
“I would argue that the workplace is an ideal intervention setting due to those large numbers of drug users that are employed,” Dr Pidd said.
But he warned any attempt to address ice use in the workplace must go beyond drug testing and focus on early intervention.
“Introducing drug testing as a standalone strategy was probably the worst way to go,” Dr Pidd said. “Instead of changing behaviour to reduce any risk due to drug use, it can change behaviour to avoid detection, without reducing the risk to drug use.”
Professor Richard Murray, Dean of the National College of Medicine at James Cook University and a member of the National Ice Taskforce, provided the symposium with an update on the taskforce’s progress. Professor Murray said he hoped to see new ways to address the ice problem at a local level, involving effective policing and frontline health services.
“At the level of the local is I think a really vital aspect of the work that the taskforce and governments – all of governments in Australia – can help eliminate,” Professor Murray said.
The symposium was organised by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University. Its director, Professor Ann Roche, warned that a national strategy which focused just on one drug could miss the mark.
“Methamphetamine needs to be seen in conjunction with the range of other substances that people are using,” Professor Roche said. “People who use methamphetamine pretty much always use other drugs as well. So it’s not simply a focus on methamphetamine that’s required, it’s a focus on people who have problems and problems with drugs.”
The National Ice Taskforce begins community consultations in Mount Gambier in South Australia’s south-east later this week and is due to report interim findings to the Prime Minister by the middle of this year.
As well as launching an ice taskforce, the Government also funded a series of confronting new television advertisements that show the effect of ice on drug users. The graphic campaign depicts a mother being bashed and robbed by her drug-addled son, a woman who believes bugs are crawling under her skin and a man who goes berserk and attacks hospital staff.
The campaign cost $9 million and will air for six weeks. But one expert, who had previously questioned the effectiveness of similar campaign in the United States, believes the hard hitting approach of the Australian campaign may miss the mark.
“From what I’ve seen so far, the Australian ads look very similar to those that are run in America over the past few years, so I’m sceptical that they’ll be effective,” Australian mental health researcher at the University of Western Australia, David Erceg-Hurn said.
RELATED! Australian Mum, Maria Exposto Faces Death-sentence in Malaysia
May 1, 2015: An Australian woman faces a possible death sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia after a chemist’s report confirmed the substance found in her bag was crystal methamphetamine, a prosecutor says. Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, a 52-year-old mother of four, was arrested on December 7 at Kuala Lumpur airport with 1.1 kilograms of the drug, also known as ice, court documents showed.
Prosecutor Hasifulkhair Jamaluddin told the magistrate’s court that Exposto had been trafficking methamphetamine based on the chemist’s report.
Magistrate Noor Hafizah Salim then ordered the case to be transferred to the high court.
Malaysia has a mandatory death penalty by hanging for anyone found guilty of carrying more than 50 grams of a drug. Authorities previously said Exposto was trafficking 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Exposto looked nervous when the amended charge was read to her. The defence is yet to enter a plea until the case reaches the high court, since the lower magistrate’s court has no jurisdiction to hear death penalty cases.
‘Yes, I am innocent’
“Yes, I am innocent,” Ms Exposto said with a smile.
No date has been set for the high court hearing, but defence lawyers said the trial could begin later this year.
“We are confident that we can show her innocence at the trial,” Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, her counsel, said.
Defence lawyers say Exposto was duped into carrying a bag — which she believed contained only clothing — by a stranger who asked her to take it to Melbourne.
She had travelled to Shanghai after falling for an online romance scam by a person claiming to be a US serviceman, according to lawyers.
Customs officers discovered the drugs stitched into the compartment of a backpack. Two Australians were hanged in 1986 for heroin trafficking — the first Westerners to be executed in Malaysia. Few people have been executed in Malaysia in recent years.
Crime Pays! $US2 TRILLION A Year
In what are the first UN figures for global crime profits, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC – via it’sCommission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justcice – CCPCJ – has announced criminal business is one of the world’s top 20 economies. Transnational organized crime manifests in many forms, including as trafficking in drugs, firearms and even persons.
According to the UN, organized crime groups exploit human mobility to smuggle migrants and undermine financial systems through money laundering. The vast sums of money involved can compromise legitimate economies and directly impact public processes by ‘buying’ elections through corruption, the UN says :: Read the full article »»»»
UNRELATED! Kim Jong-un Executes 15 Top North Korean Officials
A vice minister for forestry was one of the officials executed for complaining about a state policy, a member of parliament’s intelligence committee, Shin Kyung-min, quoted an unnamed National Intelligence Service official as saying.
“Excuses or reasoning doesn’t work for Kim Jong-un, and his style of rule is to push through everything, and if there’s any objection, he takes that as a challenge to authority and comes back with execution as a showcase,” Mr Shin said.
“In the four months this year, 15 senior officials are said to have been executed,” Mr Shin cited the intelligence official as saying, according to his office :: Read the full article »»»»
UNRELATED! Two Australian Teenage Brothers Stopped at Sydney Airport en-route to ISIS Middle East Conflict Zone
The Australian Government is crowing the work of Customs and Border Protection officers who intercepted two Sydney teenage brothers, believed to be travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East.
The 16 and 17-year-olds came to the attention of Customs officers at Sydney Airport on Friday. The pair had return tickets to an undisclosed destination in the Middle East and a search of their luggage raised further suspicions of their intent.
Customs officers determined that they were intending to travel without the knowledge of their parents. The brothers were later allowed to leave the airport with their parents and were issued court attendance notices :: Read the full article »»»»
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