Lab busts grow

Clandestine drug labs in WA are mushrooming at an alarming rate. File picture
Clandestine drug labs in WA are mushrooming at an alarming rate. File picture

An Australian Crime Commission report released earlier this month found WA had the second-highest detection rate of clandestine drug labs in the country.

Eleven of the 160 labs uncovered in WA in the year ended June 30, 2012, were in Perth’s East Metropolitan District.

Another two labs in this region were found in the second half of last year.

In the first five months of this year, 61 illegal drug labs have been detected.

Police said the most recent discovery is believed to have been the source of a house fire on Hooley Road in Midvale. Another lab was recently detected in Chidlow.

According to the Australian Federal Police, clandestine labs covertly manufacture illicit drugs and can range from makeshift operations using simple processes to highly sophisticated processes.

WA Police Serious Crime Division Acting Superintendent Andy Martin said although illegal meth labs were not a major issue for the East Metropolitan District, Organised Crime Squad officers and frontline officers in the area often worked closely together through intelligence sharing to effectively combat the problem.

‘Pro-active measures, such as Project STOP, and the targeting of repeat offenders has helped identify and target drug users before they manufacture their own drugs,’ he said.

Project STOP is a decision-making tool for pharmacists aimed at preventing the use of pseudoephedrine-based products to manufacture methamphetamine. The system works by helping pharmacists to determine patients’ therapeutic needs.

‘Even a small number of clandestine drug labs can present a real danger to the community and can have a flow-on effect in relation to drug-related crime,’ Supt Martin said.

n For more information on Project STOP go to