by Tara Miko
AS THE alleged heads of crippling drug trafficking networks go through the court system, the covert operation that led to their arrests in St George this week is being considered as a new way to stop the ice scourge across the state.
More raids and arrests in Toowoomba, Roma and St George yesterday, targeting drug possession and supply, was a continuation of Operation Oscar Kohl under which 25 people were arrested and charged with more than 170 offences.
The two-year taskforce drew on government, welfare and community agencies in a successful response to tackling methylampethamine, or ice, supply across the south-west region.
South-West Detective Inspector Paul Hart said the multi-agency response had encouraged the community to work with police - a major factor which made the drug operation such a success in the ongoing war against ice.
"It's a war that never stops," Det. Insp. Hart said.
"We'll never completely win it but we certainly won that battle in St George.
"When we started to get the amount of information that we were getting, we realised that when we closed the operation like this it would have a big impact on the community.
"Rather than just roll into it and fracture (the town), we knew we would need to have a lot of support in place with all levels of government and the services operating."
But the community's willingness to work with, rather than against, police and provide information on the drug players was a major contributing factor in the raids, and something Det. Insp. Hart wants to see happen across the state.
He said the arrests were a chance for St George and its surrounding towns to start again and move forward.
"What we're doing is wiping the slate clean and giving the community the opportunity to push forward," he said.
"Even the users we have identified over the last few days have said this is a good opportunity to get off the drugs. I think we're formulated a unique template that we will be able to roll out in other areas."