It seems like every couple of months a new drug bust record is set. The news has been inundated with stories about massive shipments of drugs that have been intercepted, usually foiling the plans of a handful of people that have collaborated with overseas criminal syndicates.
So, is this really having an impact on the availability and price of illicit drugs?
Recently, two Sydney men were arrested over an alleged plot to import $105 million worth of cocaine into Australia from Peru. The same pair attempted this in 2017, but the drugs did not arrive and it is suspected they were ripped off by other criminals.
The most surprising thing is that this did not force the pair out of business. This illustrates that with a global surplus of illicit drugs, prices at the wholesale level are significantly lower than at the retail level. Transnational crime groups may simply factor a potential seizure into the overall cost of doing business.
This begs the question: can police arrest their way out of the drug problem?
While Australia should not reduce its law enforcement operations and invite criminal activity to our shores, is there a need to also develop innovative ideas outside of law enforcement that may help to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs?