Wholesale cocaine price drops, but not cost on street
THE wholesale price of cocaine has dropped to less than $200,000 a kilogram for Sydney's illegal drug importers, but has had little impact on the cost on the street.
A wave of importations are continually being sent by major international drug cartels who see Australia, and especially Sydney, as the one of the most profitable markets in the world with people willing to pay anywhere from $250 to $300 a gram - the second highest price in the world, according to the latest Global Drug Survey.
For a long time the price was around the $220,000 to $230,000 a kilogram mark but because of the glut in world production the price has dropped.
But NSW cops and criminal sources said the prices on the street have not been affected.
"They, the suppliers, are pocketing the difference,"' said one source.
"There are people in Sydney making huge amounts money as well as the offshore facilitators," he said.
While no one cares about drug dealers ripping each other off, the fact is that the cartels will send more drugs to make up for the dip in profits.
"And that means more drug investigations, which are expensive and use a lot of resources,'' one officer said.
"It means detectives and technical support are needed to carry out those jobs, which drags resources away from other cases including murder, child sex offences and just day-to-day policing," he said.
NSW Police and federal agencies have had some spectacular seizures this year, some over 500kg - an indicator of how big the problem is.
A lot of the shipments are also being organised by ex-pats who have fled Australia and travel the world on their drug profits.
Turkey, Dubai and Lebanon are favourite haunts for the offshore shore Aussie mafia made up mainly of bikies.
They are also well established in places like Thailand and Indonesia - most having left Australia before they were arrested.
Law enforcement agencies are uncovering new routes being used by drug cartels to import drugs to Australia on a regular basis.
The Pacific Islands such as Fiji and Vanuatu emerged as routes a few years ago, and more recently South Africa has been identified as a major point to bring in drugs into Australia.
"While everyone is making money, which they are at the moment, there isn't much trouble between the crooks.
"It's when that changes that you can see problems on the street between different syndicates or individuals."