Landlords are being warned to watch their vacant rental properties, as they are increasingly becoming used as pick-up and drop-off zones for drug makers.
Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says manufacturers of the drug P were using vacant properties as distribution points for illegally imported precursor ingredients.
“Previously [landlords] had to worry about their properties being used as P labs, now vacant properties and sublet rooms are being given as the delivery address for pseudoephedrine-based precursors,” he says.
Customs manager drug investigations Bill Perry says generally, the offenders involved in the organisation of the importing rings – and who are doing the renting – are aged between 19 and 30.
“They generally are not working but display obvious signs of wealth.
“We encourage people to look out for anything unusual next door and let us know if they are concerned,” Perry says.
Customs has been experiencing a huge increase in the amount and number of intercepts of illegal substances.
Williamson says Customs is seeing more and more instances of repeat offenders, including some re-offending while on bail for similar crimes.
He says “landlords need to be vigilant” and do their bit by reporting suspicious activities.