The Honourable Paul Lucas
New drug law puts hole in supply chains
People found to be in possession of chemicals and ingredients used to manufacture illegal drugs could face trafficking charges when amendments introduced to Queensland Parliament yesterday are passed.
Attorney General Paul Lucas said the Government would seek to introduce a new offence of Trafficking in Precursors under the Drugs Misuse Act which would carry a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.
Mr Lucas said current legislation meant anyone found to be in the possession of a single precursor chemical or apparatus such as glassware or a pill press were charged with unlawful possession, unlawful supply or unlawful production carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
He said the amendments aimed to see people in these circumstances charged with trafficking which would lead to a stiffer maximum sentence.
"Criminal groups have been dividing up responsibilities for equipment and substances used to make drugs so no one person holds all the key ingredients and equipment," Mr Lucas said.
"This is being done in a deliberate bid to avoid prosecution on trafficking charges.
"What these new laws will do is make sure courts have tougher sentences available to them to send a clear message that involvement in the manufacture of amphetamines, from the supply of chemicals to providing a pill press, can result in trafficking charges.
"This reflects the gravity and true criminality of possessing vast quantities of precursor chemicals used in the production of dangerous drugs.
"Anyone caught in the possession of a precursor chemical or apparatus will be charged with trafficking, carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years.
"The message is clear: if you don't have the chemicals to make dangerous drugs you can't make them. If you can't make them, you can't sell them. End of story."
Mr Lucas said Trafficking of a Dangerous Drug carried a maximum sentence of between 20 and 25 years depending on the type of drug and its quantity.