Brazen gang in South Gippsland drug raids

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Brazen gang in South Gippsland drug raids

By Matt Dunn
SPEED-MAKING criminal gangs ransacked four South Gippsland pharmacies in one night last week, stealing drugs containing pseudoephedrine, as well as large quantities of cash.
Wonthaggi CIU is continuing investigations into the series of burglaries that may have started in the Latrobe Valley and included pharmacies in Mirboo North, Foster, Leongatha and Koo-Wee-Rup.
One of those targeted in the bold heist was Leongatha’s Nagel’s Pharmacy.
The slick thieves were in and out of the business within one minute and 10 seconds.
But pharmacist Brett Nagel was at pains to stress that chemists were stocking less drugs containing the valuable speed-making commodity.
“Pharmacies contain minimal stock now, to discourage this kind of thing. It wasn’t the fact that a lot were taken,” he said.
The Leongatha raid was believed to have occurred on Tuesday last week, about midnight.
Detectives are analysing CCTV footage of the thieves. 
It is believed the pharmacies were carefully selected by the gang, who had done their homework on where the drugs they wanted were stored.
“They were here for a minute and 10 seconds. We’ve got cameras and the footage showed they were only in here for a minute and 10 seconds,” Mr Nagel said.
Jane McGovern from the Foster Pharmacy was not keen to talk about what was stolen, but was hopeful the police would make arrests.
“The police reckon they’re going to catch them,” she said.
But Ms McGovern said robberies were something of a rarity for the business, and this was only the second in seven years.
“From that point of view we’ve had very little issue, and we don’t believe it was locals,” she said.
Sarah Bowen from the Mirboo North pharmacy said “cold and flu tablets” had been the main target in the raid on her pharmacy.
“I think Dimeatap or something like that was what they took. They were in and out within two minutes,” she said.
“They knew where it was and where to go. They smashed the glass at the front and went on a bit of a rampage.
“I think the police are still trying to work out which way they went. Did they start here and go to Foster or some other way. We don’t know yet.”
Ms McGovern said she and her husband had been managing the pharmacy for two years, but this was the first time it had been broken in to.
“I think everyone is shocked for there to have been so many break-ins in one night,” Ms McGovern said.
The Mirboo North break-in was not discovered until workers arrived at the business on Wednesday morning. 
According to information provided by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia: “Pharmacies have long been targeted by people who seek to obtain pseudoephedrine to manufacture illicit drugs”.
In recent years the problem has escalated, with offenders finding an increasing number of ways to extract the pseudoephedrine content from various prepared medications.
Pseudo-runners have also created strong networks around Australia to enable substantial quantities of the product to be purchased and diverted to methamphetamine manufacture.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=116

Posted by SiteAdmin on Dec 2 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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