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Dozens arrested in Redfern drug raid

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 30 July 2004


Police have made 35 arrests during raids on suspected drug houses in the Sydney suburb of Redfern.

The drug busts come as the anticipated report into police in Redfern, prompted by the riot after the death of teenager Thomas 'TJ' Hickey, was delayed until next week.

The parliamentary inquiry was expected to release the report by the end of July, but a spokeswoman says the committee members were unable to reach a conclusion today.

Undercover officers targeted more than 20 homes in Redfern, which were raided by 250 police officers from the local command, the dog squad, Polair and operations support group.

Police have denied the raids were in response to recent criticisms that they were not doing enough to fight drug dealing there.

Local Area Commander Superintendent Dennis Smith says he wants to make a significant dent in the heroin trade by Christmas.

"The police presence in relation to this operation and the drug dealing will be strong," he said.

"We've sought commitment from the elders on 'the block' and they've asked police to have a strong presence, to remove and to continue to remove drug peddling.

"We've taken a stand and today is one of many operational phases of what we're going to continue at 'the block' and reduce amount of drugs that are available there."

Operation Allunga has been six months in the planning.

Police say senior officers decided on the daylight blitz on suspected drug dealers just weeks after the Redfern riots.

The raids have angered some local community leaders, who believe the emphasis should be on rehabilitation for drug addicts.

A senior member of the Redfern community, Mick Mundine, says while he supports the police crackdown on drug dealers, more needs to be done.

"We knew it was coming and I think it's a blessing in disguise that it happened," he said.

"We do not tolerate drugs in this community, but a major problem we've got at the present moment is the needle bus.

"I believe that's the honey pot of the community and it's about time that it's gone out."


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