16 Sep 2010

Mexican drug groups involved in cocaine surge in Australia

6:01 am on 16 September 2010

The Australian Crime Commission says highly sophisticated Mexican crime groups are having a significant impact on the Australian cocaine market.

Official estimates have the use of cocaine more than doubling in New South Wales in two years.

The surge is linked to one of the most powerful and brutal syndicates involved in the drug war in Mexico, the Sinaloa cartel.

Commission chief executive John Lawlor says the groups are large scale and well organised.

The ABC reports 240kg of cocaine was seized in July by the Australian Federal Police, Customs and the NSW Police.

The drugs were concealed in concrete pavers hollowed out with concrete glued over the top, then concealed in a much larger consignment.

Instructions, written in code, on how to find the cocaine-filled pavers were etched into the pallets.

In another seizure, drugs were concealed in six steel die casts, weighing four tonnes.

the Australian Crime Commission says a kilo of wholesale cocaine in Colombia is worth about $2100. Mr Lawler told the ABC:

"If that cocaine is successfully imported into Mexico it's worth $12,500. If that finds its way to the United States, it's worth $28,500.

"But if it finds its way to Australia it's worth $146,000 - an increase of more than 7,000 per cent in profit."

Surge in cocaine use

The ABC reports there has been a huge surge in cocaine use in Australia.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and research says recent figures are unprecedented.