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Police Losing "Meth" Battle

Reports of a mafia-like "Top Table" of gangs joining together to sell drugs show that Police are still losing the battle against methamphetamine, National Police Spokesperson Tony Ryall said today.

"Police are telling me that "meth" is now more available than ever before, and has a deep reach into all parts of society." Fifteen methamphetamine labs have been discovered in the first two and a half months of this year, compared with 41 for the whole of 2001, nine in 2000, and one in 1996.

"We're headed for another record year of lab-busts, yet this is just the tip of an expanding iceberg," Mr Ryall said. "Frontline police believe the increasing use and availability of the addictive drug is a major factor in the rising violent crime rate in many areas.

"Last year the Deputy Police Commissioner admitted to a select committee that the Police were losing the battle against "meth" or "speed". Latest news reports reveal that the gangs are doing even better this year.

"The Police need more support in their fight against "speed". Auckland's three police districts, the prized market for the gangs, are badly under-staffed and their drug intelligence services are under immense pressure.

"Most of the 15 labs busted this year have been in Northland, which is where the Auckland gangs base much of their production.

"The key to breaking the gangs is to take away their money and assets. One gang, according to Police estimates, has property and holdings in excess of $10 million.

"National will overhaul the Proceeds of Crimes Act, so that convicted drug dealers and gangs have to show all their property has been acquired through legal means. Under the current law police have to prove assets were purchased with the proceeds of criminal activities," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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