Joint taskforce to continue fight against drugs

Australia and Thailand today renewed an agreement to continue a joint taskforce in the fight against drugs and transnational serious and organised crime.

Taskforce Storm which targets organised crime groups in Thailand and Australia will remain ongoing for a further 12 months.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong today witnessed the signing of the extended agreement in Bangkok by AFP Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close with representatives from the Royal Thai Police, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Department of Special Investigations and the Anti-Money Laundering Office.

Taskforce Storm has been highly successful. Established in May 2016 it initially focussed on narcotics trafficking between Thailand and Australia, but today has many facets including investigations relating to firearms trafficking and money laundering.

It has overseen drug seizures in excess of three tonnes of marijuana and five kilograms of methamphetamine in Thailand and seizures in Australia of 350 kilograms of methamphetamine, 48 litres of gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 3.9 tonnes of the precursor chemicals (ephedrine).

Mr Dutton said the agreement to extend Taskforce Storm demonstrated the willingness of both countries to tackle serious transnational organised crime threats.

“This cooperation is vital in effectively disrupting crime groups which target and operate throughout Thailand and Australia,” he said.

“The seizure of such a large amount of drugs demonstrates the proactive efforts of the AFP and its partners under the Morrison Government’s National Ice Action Strategy. Today’s signing is a significant day in the relationship between our nations,” Mr Dutton said.

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