Disrupting the illicit drug trade at work

19 September 2023

Businesses and employees are vulnerable targets of illegal trade, according to Crime Stoppers in its latest campaign targeting workplaces.


Supply chain

The illicit drug trade has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry in Australia, fuelling the operations and profits of criminal organisations that often carry out their illegal activities in full view of the community.

Like any legitimate business, organised crime normally requires a product, logistical support, storage facilities, a distribution network, and a steady customer base – but also incorporates aspects such as violence, intimidation and coercion.

The drug trade’s underbelly can fund terrorism, human trafficking and other criminal endeavours while leading to a life of crime for drug users to sustain their habit.

Red flags

Businesses and workers can become vulnerable targets to facilitate the illegal trade, with red flags including:

  • Anyone attempting to recruit you or other workers into activity that you know is not right
  • Anyone asking you to ignore something you know is wrong
  • Anyone without the proper authority trying to access cargo or high-risk/high-security areas
  • A worker acting nervously for no obvious reason
  • A worker accessing containers or shipments without authority
  • A worker arriving or leaving at unusual hours
  • A worker with large quantities of cash
  • A worker with outlaw motorcycle gang tattoos on their person
  • A worker with an expensive lifestyle that doesn’t match their income
  • Unusual or unscheduled delivery stops.

Case studies

Crime Stoppers offers a lifeline by enabling people to anonymously report suspicious activity. Real-life examples (that have been dramatised for privacy) of the types of information received by Crime Stoppers include:

  • A courier driver had been delivering packages for nearly a year. Once a month, he dropped off a package to an address at a vacant lot that raised suspicion. He suspected these deliveries contained something illegal but was afraid to jeopardise his job by speaking out. He anonymously sent his tip to Crime Stoppers, which formed part of a larger police investigation that ultimately led to the seizure of methylamphetamine and the arrest of an outlaw motorcycle gang member.
  • A high-end retail worker in the city noticed a male customer who arrived in various luxury vehicles and repeatedly purchased expensive watches with cash and without providing warranty details. Although she lacked concrete evidence of a crime, she submitted an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers, which became a crucial piece of a broader investigation, eventually resulting in the arrest of the man for drug importation.

How to report

If you have any information about the illicit drug trade – or experience something that seems suspicious – you can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers online at https://crimestoppers.com.au or freecall 1800 333 000.

When you choose to stay anonymous it means you don’t have to make a statement to police, get involved or risk putting yourself at harm.

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