Organised crime groups involved in meow meow trade in South Wales - Swansea conference hears
ORGANISED crime groups are involved in the distribution of meow meow in South Wales, it has been revealed.
Swansea, Llanelli, Ystradgynlais, Ammanford, Burry Port, Carmarthen, Port Talbot and Briton Ferry have all been named by police as hotspots for use of the drug — also called mephedrone — in the past 18 months.
And at a special conference held at Swansea’s Marriott Hotel, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Tavener said the ease with which it could be purchased through the internet had attracted both “young entrepreneurs” and those involved in organised crime looking to make profit.
Mr Tavener, head of the Wales Regional Intelligence Unit, said: “We have done two profiles since September last year about mephedrone links to organised crime, coming into the country via the internet.
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“We know that it is being manufactured in countries such as India and China.”
And he said they were seeing young entrepreneurs who had realised they could make money very easily and similarly through the drug.
“We have seen groups getting involved in high quantities in South Wales,” he added.
Mr Tavener added that agencies coming together would be the way to help solve the problem.
“One of the things we have talked about today is about encouraging partnership working,” he said.
“We have extended that partnership approach with the All Wales Programme.”
He said there had been three recent conferences in Wales involving more than 200 teachers in Personal and Social Education (PSE), to help get the right message out about the new drugs.
“The one thing we have to do is get the information out to the public so they can make informed decisions,” Mr Tavener added.
This week’s conference, organised by SANDS Cymru, formerly Swansea Drugs Project, brought together experts from around the country to discuss how best to deal with the rise in meow meow use and legal highs.
Among the speakers on the day was Doctor Adam Winstock, editor of the Global Drugs Survey.
Director of SANDS, Ifor Glyn, said: “It’s in response to the alarming rate of mephedrone use seen in Swansea, Llanelli, and Newport over the past 18 months.
“We need to recognise this is the tip of the iceberg. The UK Government makes the drugs laws, it made mephedrone illegal in 2010.
“But manufacturers are just changing the chemical compound.
“People can get hold of these drugs really easily, you can get it delivered to your door because of the internet, and these small quantities are difficult to detect.
“The whole idea is to look at what is likely to happen and respond to that.”