Drug squad swoops on the Block

Source: The Australian - July 31, 2004

HUNDREDS of police launched a massive raid on drug dealers in Redfern's notorious Block yesterday, arresting 35 people. Heroin, cocaine and $10,000 were discovered when police swooped. The blitz by Strike Force Allunga involved 250 officers and followed a six-month undercover operation.

Four of the five houses raided during the blitz are owned by The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC), which is currently seeking a $25 million taxpayer-funded grant. Redfern police last night urged the AHC to brick up the terraces, announcing undercover officers had made repeated drug buys there over the past six months.

Police descended on The Block at 11am yesterday and 21 people - including two Aboriginal elders in their 50s - were charged with supplying a prohibited drug.

Most charges related to mid-level heroin dealing but some people were also charged with supplying cocaine and cannabis. Another 14 were charged with a other offences, including being present in a drug house, having stolen goods in custody, or were arrested on warrants. Police will allege they seized around $10,000 in cash in yesterday's raids as well as small amounts of white powder, suspected to be heroin. In one of the drug houses, police allegedly discovered a large bin filled with used syringes and swabs.

Some of the drug houses were fortified with steel doors and police used chains to rip them off their hinges.

Police will allege they made more than 100 drugs buys since January, including several early yesterday.

Police said the top end of the Block, opposite Redfern railway station on Lawson St, was identified as the point where drug buyers were told which drug houses to go to on certain days.