Drug users could unwittingly fund terror

AAP
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Ice driving organised crime in Australia

A new report says ice is now among the main sources of profit for criminal groups in Australia.

Drug users could be unwittingly funding terrorism, with the Australian Crime Commission finding links between drug gangs and terrorist organisations.

Organised criminal syndicates are laundering money through terror groups, who take a cut of profits from Australia's lucrative drug trade, according to ACC chief executive Chris Dawson.

The ACC's Organised Crime in Australia 2015 report, released on Wednesday, reveals its efforts will be directed at the "evolving challenges posed by the nexus between organised crime and terrorism over the next two years".

Organised crime is costing Australia more than $30 billion per annum, Mr Dawson said.

The ACC boss would not name the groups linked to money laundering, but says law enforcement agencies continue to monitor how groups "clean" cash earned through organised crime.

The mark-up on drug prices in Australia has made the nation a more lucrative target, he said, meaning drug users could inadvertently fund terror groups.

"Just as you can't be certain of the purity of what you're buying, where (drug dealers) put their money is unknown to the purchaser," Mr Dawson said.

"There can be an indirect link.

"Australia has a disproportionate price level of drugs... the mark-up could be because our economy is stronger or that Australians are prepared to pay a higher price."

One gram of the drug ice costs upwards of $650 in Australia, compared to $100 in China.

"(It's) one of the causal factors as to why there are many international groups targeting Australia, because globally they will profit more," Mr Dawson said.

Money launderers then take a percentage, usually between five to 10 per cent, to legitimise the funds - these operators could be directly sponsored by terror groups or facilitate the movement of their funds, Mr Dawson said.

MONEY LAUNDERING SINCE DECEMBER 2012


  • $65.9m in cash seized


  • $925.7m in estimated street value of drugs and precursors seized


  • $46m in assets restrained


  • 52 serious and organised criminal groups disrupted


  • 289 people arrested on 673 charges


  • 284 new targets identified that were previously unknown to law enforcement


  • Australian Crime Commission, Organised Crime in Australia 2015 report