Research from the Australian Institute of Criminology has found that arrests due to drug charges have increased in recent years, and cannabis remains the most common drug accounting for arrest.
The number of those arrested on drug charges relating to cannabis has been growing by about three per cent per year.
Most of those facing charges for drug offences are suppliers, rather than consumers.
Two of these alleged suppliers recently faced charges in NSW local courts.
The two young men were seen in Taree one evening, when they were spotted by police and arrested.
The younger one, aged 20, was already on the police radar as he had breached his bail.
Breach of bail means that you can be arrested and brought before the court and may impact your chances of getting bail in the future.
It also allows the police officer to arrest you, although they do not have to. If the officer in charge does not think that the breach was too serious you may get a warning instead.
In this case, the 20 year old who had breached his bail was searched by the police who allegedly found drugs including MDMA and cannabis on him.
The car of the other man, a 25 year old, was also allegedly found to contain methyl amphetamines.
The Police report that, following on from this, a house was searched. The search yielded five firearms and a cattle prod, which were all seized by police.
While the younger man appeared in Forster Local Court on 23 July, the older one will appear before Taree local court later in August.
The 20 year old was refused bail and was charged with supply and possession of prohibited drugs.
The 25 year old, whose case will be held in the Taree local court faces charges of ongoing supply and possession of prohibited drugs as well as possession of firearms in aggravated circumstances.
He was granted conditional bail.
Drugs are often found during searches, although not in every case will the police be expecting to find them.
In many other situations involving drugs, the alleged offender was not even under the suspicion of police.
Routine traffic infringements, like speeding, are often instrumental in allowing police to uncover far more serious crimes, including major drug offences.
This is not an uncommon occurrence – police pulled over a woman in the Northern Territory for erratic driving and when she handed over her licence, a bag of methamphetamine fell from her wallet.
The resulting search of her car uncovered more drugs as well as large quantities of cash.
Disobeying any road rules while driving means that you could be pulled over by the police.
While police do need a reason to search – a suspicion or belief on reasonable grounds – often just coming under their notice may be all they need to find a valid reason to carry out a search.
While looking nervous, even in a well-known drug area will not be enough give police the authority to search you, there are other factors that do allow them to carry out a search.
If they have a suspicion on reasonable grounds that some illegal activity is occurring, you or you car could be subject to a search.
Of course, having illegal items in plain view will also allow them to seize the items and carry out a search.
This happened to a 29 year old man driving a Toyota Camry near Grafton, who was initially pulled up for speeding.
Officers who searched the car allegedly found $300,000 cash and approximately $218,000 worth of ice.
Another circumstance where police can search you, your car or your house is if you give your consent.
Police may say something like “you don’t mind if we have a quick look around here, do you?” and many people do not realise that they have the option to refuse consent to a search.
Just like in the above scenarios, searches for drugs can be very successful for the police.
But often it is something completely different that brings a suspect to the attention of the police in the first place.