A DRUG operation that resulted in about 700 trafficking charges has shot Wangaratta up to the fifth-highest crime rate in Victoria.
Crime statistics released yesterday show Wangaratta’s overall crime rate jumped by 29.9 per cent between 2013 and 2014.
The biggest increase came from drug offences, which rose 75.9 per cent from 219 charges laid in 2013 up to 907 in 2014 – including 738 drug trafficking charges.
Wangaratta Police Service Area commander, Inspector David Ryan, said about 700 trafficking charges were from a single crackdown in September last year called Operation Juliet, where more than 30 people were arrested.
The Wangaratta drug syndicate allegedly sold a total of 14 ounces of methamphetamines, worth $392,000, between July and September 2014.
Insp Ryan said without this operation, the drug figures would have been similar to 2013, but police continue to target drug dealers.
“We continue to do good work on different crews,” he said.
“Police are identifying further people in the community who are attempting to fill the void.”