Drug traffickers targeting Australia

AFP-JIJI

Australia seized a record 23 tons of illicit drugs in 2011-12 with arrests at a 10-year high, data showed Monday, as officials warned the country has become a key target for traffickers.

The annual Australian Crime Commission report showed the amount caught was up 154 percent on the previous year, boosted by a single 11-ton bust of hypophosphorous acid in New South Wales state.

The substance is used in the manufacture of methylamphetamine and had the potential to produce 6.5 tons of the drug, with an estimated street value of 3.8 billion Australian dollars ($3.7 billion).

The report said authorities made more than 93,000 arrests in the year — the highest in a decade, while a record 809 undercover drug labs were dismantled across the country.