How drug cartels plan to smuggle amid virus lockdown
Drug cartels will look at smuggling drugs into Australia using "black flights", private yachts and super boats to keep up supply during the coronavirus outbreak, with prices of illicit substances likely to rise in the coming months.
It is expected distributors will look to use food delivery couriers to get around the closure of nightclubs and gyms where drugs are often purchased.
"Drug cartels will just get more imaginative in the way they try and get their product into Australia and, likewise, distributors will also be just as inventive I'd imagine," former Head of the NSW Drug Squad Nick Bingham told The Daily Telegraph.
"There will not be an immediate shortage because many importations are planned months in advance and the ports are still open so they probably have got drugs still coming in.
"How it effects prices is yet to be seen because, like everyone else, the drug trade has never faced something like this.
"But one thing is for certain, they will not just shut up shop ... they are too greedy."
One senior law enforcement officer, who did not wish to be named, said he expects the price of both cocaine and methylampthetamine to rise in the next few months.
"How production is being affected overseas will be key," he said.
"I suspect in the places like Myanmar, where a lot of meth is produced, and the cocaine fields of South America (they) will not be practising social distancing so production will probably continue.
"I expect the price of cocaine to go up in the next couple of months if not sooner.''
In the past few years, police have detected major importations in private planes purchased overseas and stripped of their interior to hide drugs and also put in extra fuel tanks to enable them to make longer flights.
"They then land in small airstrips, either in rural towns or small coastal airstrips, where they believe they have a lot better chance of avoiding closer customs inspection," another former drug officer said.
"It has been going on for years and we have no idea how prevalent it is but, under the current climate, they may ramp this type of importation up.''
The officer said there were a number of instances where these small planes have been used to import drugs directly into Australia.
"There is evidence that some of these planes are able to avoid radar by turning off their transponders and also flying low,'' he said.
Dealers have also used private yachts repeatedly over the years to import drugs into coastal towns.
Originally published as How drug cartels plan to smuggle amid virus lockdown