VIPs shamed on cocaine
SPECIAL INSIGHT REPORT
By Keith Moor
22 Aug 2005
ONE of Australia's most prolific cocaine dealers has given police the names of his celebrity customers. He provided Victoria Police with taped evidence implicating music, sport and TV stars.
The dealer identified the celebrities -- who are household names -- before being convicted of serious drug
offences in 2003.
He is now a police informer and is expected to give evidence in at least one major drug case.
Among those named by the supergrass as regular customers were:
ONE of Australia's biggest rock performers.
A LEADING female actor who spent years starring in one of Australia's longest-running television dramas.
A PROMINENT retired AFL player connected to a male actor who recently turned up at a cocaine dealer's house in Docklands during a police raid.
ONE of Melbourne's female media stars.
SEVERAL leading Victorian barristers.
Police considered investigating the celebrities further to try to corroborate the dealer's claims, but decided against singling them out.
Force priority is to chase drug dealers, not users, even if those alleged users are high-profile.
The supergrass told Victoria Police he handled drugs
worth $30 million in the late 1990s and 2000.
He claimed he obtained huge amounts of cocaine from the Australia-wide drug syndicate run by underworld feud victims Lewis Moran, his son Jason, and stepson Mark.
The supergrass told police his cocaine clients included top models, entertainers, and other members of Melbourne's A-list.
The head of the Victoria Police major drug investigation division, Acting Det-Supt Bob Hill, confirmed investigations had identified cocaine use in many high-profile industries.
"Cocaine is essentially the drug that's associated with the rich and famous," he said.
Acting Supt Hill said celebrity drug users were treated no differently.
"The MDID conducts high-level investigations into large-scale illicit drug distribution," he said.
"Our focus is directed towards drug dealers, not charging users.
"We don't necessarily charge everyone who is associated with a drug trafficking enterprise.
"There might be people interviewed who provide intelligence or become witnesses for the prosecution.
"We don't differentiate between whether you are a rock star, television identity or a plumber."
A Herald Sun Insight investigation has found:
AN ITALIAN organised crime gang with global links shipped 434kg of cocaine worth $152 million to Australia in 2001 and last year attempted to smuggle a further 300kg into Melbourne.
AUSTRALIAN crime gangs have established direct links with Colombian cartels to ensure ready access to top-quality cocaine.
WEST African organised crime gangs are using the post to get large numbers of cocaine-filled letters and parcels into Australia.
POLICE intelligence suggests Israeli and Russian crime gangs are expanding networks to increasingly include Melbourne and Sydney.
INTERNATIONAL drug gangs are recruiting couriers from non-suspect countries to smuggle cocaine to Australia by air.
AUSTRALIAN Federal Police figures reveal a 50 per cent increase in cocaine seizures in Australia in the past year.
EIGHTY per cent of AFP cocaine seizures came through the post.
There was a 95 per cent increase in cocaine seizures in Victoria between 2002-03 and 2003-04. The weight of cocaine seized jumped 260 per cent in the 12 months to June 2004, and arrests more than doubled in 2003-04 on the previous year's.
Undercover drug police are spending more time at Melbourne nightclubs.
A recent Australian Crime Commission report said most cocaine users' lack of a criminal profile made it difficult to determine the size of the local market.