AFP seize 20kg of party drug mephedrone
Federal police have seized over 20kg of the new party drug mephedrone in the past 15 months — but Australians are still posting "want ads" online for foreign suppliers to ship the chemical here.
Ninemsn can reveal that the AFP and Australian Customs authorities have intercepted 25 shipments of the illegal drug into the country since September last year.
But the AFP refuse to confirm if they have arrested or charged anyone over the shipments.
Mephedrone — also known as 4-MMC, Plant Food or Bubbles — is said to be a cross between cocaine and ecstasy.
It comes in pill or powder form and is typically packaged inside a small plastic bag with a sticker that reads: "Not for human consumption ... for technical use only".
An AFP spokesperson said authorities were monitoring a Hong Kong-based buy-and-sell website where Australians have left ads looking for mephedrone dealers.
Ninemsn found some 17 advertisements on the website, including one notice from a Victorian user looking for a weekly supply of the drug.
"Need bulk amounts of mephedrone to be shipped to Victoria, Australia ... require a sample pack (say 5g) first to ensure quality," the advertisement says.
"Looking for someone who can supply weekly ... would prefer product to already be in the country at time of shipping."
Another person from Sydney says they want 1kg of the drug, while a Tasmanian user says they are looking for a "reliable mephedrone supplier ... wanted urgently"
An ad published by someone in Adelaide says they are "looking to buy 10g of mephedrone".
In June last year, Queensland police seized a batch of pills being sold as ecstasy which contained a mix of mephedrone and a similar drug called ethylcathinone.
A Bing search of "mephedrone" reveals scores of websites selling the drug, many of which are based in the UK where it is legal to purchase but not to consume. In Australia, it is illegal to buy or consume the drug.
Some sites describe mephedrone as a plant fertiliser or even a plant growth suppressant.
Ninemsn found one website selling 25g of the drug for $358, or 1kg for $8460 — the same price as roughly 211 ecstasy tablets or 28 bags of cocaine.
But the website says shipments outside the UK have stopped because of police seizures.
One Sydney man who moved to the UK several years ago told ninemsn said it was easy to buy mephedrone off the street in London.
"I have only tried it once but it did wake me up and feel like I was flying off my head on ecstasy," the man said, on condition on anonymity.
"I think the whole 'plant food' thing gives it a little stigma ... although horse tranquilizer didn't do [party drug] ketamine any harm!"
Mephedrone has already been attributed to one death in the UK: 14-year-old Gabrielle Price had a heart attack on November 22 at a house party after reportedly taking the drug as well as ketamine.
16:00 AEST Tue Dec 8 2009
By Matt Bachl, ninemsn