Police conducting a drug dog operation at the Central Coast’s Lost Paradise Festival say punters are becoming more “sophisticated” with their drug smuggling techniques.
Speaking with the ABC, Acting Superintendent Rod Peet has described some of the bizarre lengths that some attendees have gone to this year in a bid to keep their pills under sniffer dogs’ noses, including one innovative individual who decided to stuff them inside a BBQ chook (but still ended up getting caught).
“People aren’t carrying it in their pockets — they aren’t that careless — they are quite calculated in the way they are secreting things,” Peet said.
“On one instance, certainly someone was quite determined, someone inserted drugs into the stuffing of a barbecue chicken.”
Some punters also used a Vegemite jar with a secret compartment to try to mask their stash, while the cops have also found modified aerosol cans filled with more illicit substances.
“I commend my police on their tenacity to search that thoroughly. That is the extent we’re going to to insulate this event from drug use,” Peet said.
His words come after a 22-year-old Queensland man tragically died following a suspected overdose at the festival on Saturday night
So far, police have slapped 50 people with Field Court Attendance Notices for drug possession, and another seven with cannabis cautions.
An additional three people have been charged with drug supply offences, including a 21-year-old man from Drummoyne who was allegedly found with 105 MDMA pills, and a 23-year-old man from Elanora Heights who was allegedly caught with 80 MDMA pills and 65 bags of cocaine.
An investigation into the man’s death is ongoing, with a report to be prepared for the coroner.
Meanwhile, the national campaign for drug law reform Take Control has responded to the tragedy by once again pleading with the NSW liberal government to make music festivals safer by reconsidering their staunch opposition to pill-testing.
“This doesn’t need to be the summer of festival deaths,” Ted Noffs Foundation CEO and campaign spokesperson Matt Noffs said, noting that the Lost Paradise tragedy marked the second potentially avoidable drug fatality at a NSW music event in less than a month.
Take Control are urging to sign an open letter to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, essentially begging her to listen to the evidence and reconsider trialling life-saving pill-testing measures at NSW festivals.