Man charged with trafficking cocaine at popular music festival


A 40-year-old man has been charged with trafficking cocaine at a music festival in Melbourne, among others who caught the attention of Victoria Police over the weekend. 

The Keilor Park man has been released pending summons while 29 others have been arrested and fined after sniffer dogs found them in the crowd of about 18,000 at the Listen Out festival in St Kilda on Saturday.

Another five males, aged 12 to 17, were arrested after an assault on Flinders Street while police officers visited more than 22 pubs and clubs as part of operations to patrol the city.

A 40-year-old man has been charged with trafficking cocaine at the Listen Out festival in Melbourne. Source: Instagram/ Listen Out

On Friday, Victoria Police warned there would be a “highly visible presence” at the festival following a number of run-ins in 2017.

Last year, the Passive Alert Detection dog operation saw 19 people receive drug diversions and three people receive a cannabis caution, police said in a statement.

Calls for pill testing in NSW following two deaths

There have been calls for drug reform in NSW following two deaths from a suspected drug overdose following a Sydney music festival earlier this month.

Joseph Pham, 23, from Edensor Park in Sydney’s west, did not recover after a suspected drug overdose at the Defqon.1 festival while 21-year-old unnamed Melbourne woman also died.

Greens Senator Richard di Natale said the deaths were “entirely preventable” and added NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian needed to be “held accountable”. 

Nearly 30 others were arrested at the festival too. Source: Facebook/ Listen Out (File pic)

The premier has vowed to “make sure it never happens again”. 

“I’m absolutely aghast at what’s occurred. I don’t want any family to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning,” Ms Berejiklian said the day after the festival. 

Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Sicard said 180 police were at the event and had worked with organisers to try to keep revellers safe.

Joseph Pham (pictured), 23, from Edensor Park in Sydney’s west died from a suspected drug overdose at Defqon .1 festival in Sydney. Source: 7 News

“What we can’t do is be in people’s heads, be in people’s decision-making processes when they decide to take illicit drugs,” he told reporters. 

Greens MP David Shoebridge said the police presence at the festival was aggressive and called for festivals to introduce pill-testing, amnesty bins and other harm-minimisation measures.

“We can’t keep repeating past mistakes,” he told AAP.

With AAP

The Listen Out festival in 2016. Source: Facebook/ Listen Out (File pic)