Australia the world's most profitable market for cocaine cartels

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The relatively high street value of cocaine in Australia, compared with the rest of the world, has drawn the attention of overseas cartels who are increasingly targeting the country with shipments, according to a confidential report from the Australian Federal Police obtained by the Australian media. The report points to a “generational shift” towards cocaine as responsible for pushing prices sky high, with the street price now set at a staggering $190,000 a kilo compared to $35,000 in the US.

“As long as the Australian user market is that lucrative, the organised transnational crime syndicates will target us because there are higher profit margins available to them,” the report was quoted in the Herald Sun. As a reflection of this increasing demand, police seizures of cocaine have also skyrocketed in recent years. While cocaine accounted for 5 per cent of drug seizures between 2003 and 2006/7, this figure rose to 10 per cent in 2007/08 before jumping again to 25 per cent in 2008/09.

The report was filed with the Australian Federal Police a week ago to help them evaluate the problem and allocate resources accordingly, and the organisation has confirmed that it now operates a small armed operational team based in the Columbian city of Bogota to help battle the trade.

AFP Acting Deputy Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg confirmed with the Herald Sun that six Australian police officers are currently working to help stop Australian-bound shipments before they leave the country. “They give us a fantastic operational capability in-country, directly under the control of our senior liaison officer there.”

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