Queensland heavy vehicle drivers targeted in drug operation

By: Graham Gardiner


Queensland Police are deliberately targeting truck drivers with random roadside drug tests to stamp out illicit drugs in the heavy

Queensland Police are deliberately targeting truck drivers with random roadside drug tests to stamp out illicit drugs in the heavy vehicle industry.

Police last week pulled over 268 truck drivers at Goondiwindi as part of Operation Echo Marquee, which has been running since March 2007.

Of those tested, one returned a positive result while four others were allegedly found with illicit drugs in their possession, which ranged from heroin, cannabis and methamphetamines.

This was preceded by Operation Night Stalker in December last year, which netted four truck drivers over two days in Rockhampton.

State Crime Operations Command Detective Superintendent Gayle Hogan says police in December intercepted 25 truck drivers at Rocklea, of which five were charged with eight drug-related offences.

Truck drivers found guilty of taking drugs face a fine of up to $1050, imprisonment or loss of license, the period of which will be determined by a magistrate.

Hogan says police are intentionally targeting truck stops as part of state-wide drug operations.

"We’re identifying truck areas where truck drivers are congregating, where perhaps drug deals are happening," she says.

Police officers will also search vehicles and, if evidence justifies it, will obtain warrants to search residences.

"We can see from the number of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles, people are losing their lives and it is quite dangerous," Hogan says.

"Anything we can do or any information we can illicit to minimise that risk we’re prepared to do.

Police are also focussing on ending the trucking industry’s "cash economy". Employers found guilty of paying drivers in cash to drive longer hours may face prosecution if caught.

"We’re looking at any unlawful activity within the heavy vehicle industry," she says.

Hogan says officers will work with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which has voiced concerns about the trucking industry.

"The Transport Workers Union has been quite vocal in the media of late about practices that are happening within the industry that are impacting on the safety of the drivers and the general public," she says.

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