Coffs Coast Advocate

Police left shocked by rave party arrests

RESULTS of a major random roadside drug and alcohol detection operation at Bellingen at the weekend have surprised local police.

“I was quite shocked, to be honest,” Inspector Shane Cribb of Coffs Harbour Police said.

Officers found dozens of motorists either affected by or transporting drugs.

Inspector Cribb said the variety of prohibited drugs found during the operation had included cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines.

The operation, which coincided with a big Winter Solstice rave party at Thora, began at 6pm on Saturday and continued until 2pm.

Drug detection labrador Boomer earned his dog biscuits many times over on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning, giving police 32 positive indications on vehicles stopped by officers for inspection on the Waterfall Way between Bellingen and Thora.

A total of 35 police officers worked through the night stopping cars, searching vehicles and occupants and testing 649 drivers for drugs and alcohol.

Operation Castellum involved local police from the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command and Traffic Services and the Drug Dog Detection Unit from Sydney.

Inspector Cribb said the operation, a local initiative to reduce road trauma in the area, had been a great success and police would continue to target people driving with drugs and alcohol in their system.

A police spokesperson said the operation succeeded in detecting 12 people driving a motor vehicle with illicit substances in their system. This followed tests conducted by the drug testing unit.

Police charged 16 people with offences ranging from possessing prohibited drugs to supplying prohibited drugs.

These charges followed the discovery of drugs in several vehicles, as a result of alerts on stopped cars by Boomer the labrador.

Legal drugs also maintained a high profile, with 15 drivers arrested for driving under the influence after undergoing random breath tests during the operation.

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