Meth consumption back to pre-pandemic levels but local arrests limit Geraldton drug distribution

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton police have arrested several “major players” in the local drug distribution scene recently.
Camera IconGeraldton police have arrested several “major players” in the local drug distribution scene recently. Credit: Peter de Kruijff/Pilbara News

Meth consumption in regional WA is back to pre-pandemic levels but Geraldton police say they’ve been able to limit distribution in recent months after arresting a number of “major players” in the local drug scene.

Latest findings from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program have revealed meth use in WA nearly quadrupled since August 2020 off the back of a substantial fall in consumption attributed to COVID-19 border restrictions.

The report showed regional WA had the second highest rate of meth consumption in Australia, behind South Australia.

ACIC chief executive Michael Phelan said the findings showed the “domination” of methylamphetamine in Australia’s drug market.

“Sadly, the report shows that serious organised crime groups will always find a way to supply illicit drug markets,” he said.

However, local police say meth trafficking into Geraldton has slowed down considerably since they successfully ran a big drug operation targeting the main players in town.

Geraldton detectives arrested 18 people as part of Operation Cryon, laying more than 230 charges.

As part of the operation police seized 10 firearms, power tools, a $30,000 boat, a $40,000 4WD, a $30,000 tractor, 100 grams of meth and about $195,000 cash.

Det-Sen. Sgt Bruce McDonald said the public offered valuable information which assisted in the arrests.

“A lot of people in town have had a gut full of people doing this and the drug wrecking family’s lives,” he said. “It’s an evil cycle.

“Since Cryon the intelligence we’ve got is no one has stepped up in place of those guys.”

Det-Sen. Sgt McDonald said most meth entered Geraldton by road, with drug runs picking up after WA’s borders reopened to other States.

The wastewater report, which monitored three capital city sites and four regional sites, found alcohol and nicotine consumption decreased in regional WA and Perth, but MDMA use increased in country areas.

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