Sixteen arrested as Murray Bridge police target illicit drugs, 'fear of crime'

SA Police have made 16 arrests and reported seven other people in an operation targeting the drug trade.

A police operation aimed at reducing public fear of crime in Murray Bridge has led to 23 arrests and reports.

On Monday, SAPOL’s serious and organised crime branch reported on the results of a three-month operation which targeted the illicit drug trade in the city.

Its aim was to reduce the risk of harm from drug driving, and the public fear of crime and disorder associated with drug use.

The operation’s results included:

  • 16 arrests, including for drug trafficking

  • seven police reports for lesser offences

  • 18 driver drug tests which came back positive, or about seven per cent of the total

Detective Chief Inspector Denise Gray said police had seized methamphetamine, cannabis and about $112,000 – believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking – since February.

She thanked members of the community who had cooperated with police.

The operation involved more than 100 police personnel, including local officers; dog and horse patrols; officers from SA Police's traffic services, licensing enforcement and digital evidence branches; the tactical response group; and detectives from the serious and organised crime branch.

Police also worked hand-in-hand with corrections staff as they targeted people bringing contraband into Mobilong Prison.

SA Police had previously released information about several of the arrests, including those of a 23-year-old Northern Heights man in March and a 39-year-old Murray Bridge man on Good Friday.

It is not clear whether the operation was motivated in part by a report in The Weekend Australian on February 8 which described Murray Bridge as the “meth capital of Australia”, and which inspired a follow-up by a TV crew from the Nine Network’s A Current Affair on April 1.

The officer formerly in charge of the Murray Mallee local service area, Superintendent James Blandford, said at his departure earlier this year that he believed progress was being made in the fight against illicit drugs in the community.

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