St George drug action plan a blue print for Goondiwindi and Queensland

Drug dealers throughout south-west Queensland have been put on notice after Queensland Police descended on St George.

And Goondiwindi could be next.

Twenty-five people were arrested on more than 170 charges during the dawns raids.

Police were targeting “ice” (methylamphetamine) possession and trafficking.

Maranoa MP, David Littleproud has been quick to congratulate Police and the town of St George for working together to hit back against those who are “peddling these drugs that destroy communities”.

Mr Littleproud has led a number of forums throughout the Maranoa in a bid to aid communities to fight back against the scourge of ICE.

“The commitment shown by St George and the system they have developed I think is a blue-print for all towns in Queensland including Goondiwindi.”

It’s a three-pronged attack: education, rehabilitation and policing.

St George has got that balance right, he said.

“They’ve cried, ‘Enough’ and have joined forces to clean up their town.”

The groups guiding that fightback are the Balonne Community Safety Committee, Council, Police and concerned citizens.

He particularly praised the efforts of  St George Police.

“They have to be commended for being so proactive, not as an outside force, but as part of the community,” he said.

“St George and the Queensland police service should be proud of them.”

An important part of the St George approach to fighting back is having someone clinically trained who can help those with addiction.

“It’s vital,” Mr Littleproud said.

During one of his forums Mr Littleproud heard from a young man who was about to face court on drug charges.

He told us his story and how badly he needed help.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”

Mr Littleproud believes there are often “cries for help” from those most in need, but there’s no-one there to “grab and help them”.

“It’s vitally important we have services and people in communities who can be there for these people,” he said.

Mr Littleproud has been in discussions with the Darling Downs and West Moreton Health Service about what services  can be provided for Goondiwindi.

A 34yr-old St George man was charged with trafficking a dangerous drug and 23 counts of supply offences, a 30yr-old Surat man was also charged with trafficking and an 18year-old St George woman has been charged also with trafficking.

A total of seven people have been charged with trafficking a dangerous drug as a result of the raids.

They are all due to appear in the Roma, St George and Dalby Magistrates’ courts over the coming months.

Investigations are continuing and will be ongoing with a number of further arrests expected to follow in the coming weeks.

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said the prevalence of methylamphetamine was savaging local communities in the South West.

“Ice is an insidious drug which has a devastating effect on communities, particularly those in remote and rural areas with limited access to support services,” Detective Inspector Hart said.

He said the significant number of arrests made in the St George area today had disrupted a major drug syndicate and would dismantle its local business model.

“We made a commitment to local members of the community to address the drug issues in the area, and the closure of this operation will inject some much-needed confidence back into the community.

“While it is a satisfying result for all of the dedicated police involved, we have more work to do and we will continue to target those engaging in criminal activity and the supply of drugs across the District.

“As part of our policing response to combat the issue, officers will also continue to work with various local organisations and schools, focusing on deterrence and rehabilitation.”

Detective Inspector Hart told the ABC the operation would have flow-on effects to other regional towns.

David Littlerpoud addressing a forum in Dalby recently.

David Littlerpoud addressing a forum in Dalby recently.

"It's already taken us in other directions to perform similar operations in other rural and remote communities," he said.

"The drug problem in St George is no worse than any other community — the difference has been that the people of St George have shown they don't want drugs in their town," he said.

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