Two men were allegedly caught 'cooking' amphetamines inside a Toormina house. 
The occupants of eight homes surrounding the Sawtell Rd address were evacuated.
Two men were allegedly caught 'cooking' amphetamines inside a Toormina house. The occupants of eight homes surrounding the Sawtell Rd address were evacuated. LEIGH JENSEN

Drug mostly 'home-cooked'

THE discovery of two men allegedly manufacturing amphetamines inside a Toormina home has reinforced the finding that 70% of all illegal amphetamine labs are housed in suburban streets.

After the shutting down of 703 drug labs last year nationwide and the seizure of 158kg of methamphetamine worth more than $200 million, police have asked Coffs Coast residents to report suspicious activity.

The latest raid on Sawtell Rd last Friday led to the evacuation of eight surrounding homes.

The operation followed the discovery of a meth lab inside a Boambee caravan park earlier this year.

With strong suspicions there are many more backyard chemists at work, police say they need public assistance to stem the local supplies of speed, ice and ecstasy.

"What these people are doing in manufacturing drugs in suburban streets is highly dangerous not just to themselves, but to people in the neighbouring premises," acting crime manager Senior Sergeant Peter O'Reilly said.

In 2010, an industrial-grade operation was uncovered on a property north of Corindi, which turned out to be NSW's largest-ever discovered paramethoxymethylamphetamine drug lab.

That massive drug bust provided proof criminal gangs and syndicates were operating "commercial-size" operations on the Coffs Coast.

Noting the rise in amphetamine drug lab detections across NSW, the State Drug Squad's Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham said that despite strict laws controlling the sale of cold and flu medications in NSW, drug manufacturers were still sourcing pseudoephedrine.

Supt Bingham said criminals were importing a substance known as ContacNT, a pseudoephedrine cold and flu preparation made in China for the Asian market.

"It has a much higher dose of pseudo than what is manufactured here and is relatively simple to extract for preparation," Supt Bingham said.

Over the past year, Customs has seized almost 800kg of ContacNT and the NSW Drug Squad just over 650kg of the substance.

To help police stop the manufacture of amphetamines in your neighbourhood, report suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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