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Naval drug allegations taken seriously: Australian home minister

12-21-2010 13:39 BJT

Allegations of drug trafficking by sailors at the Garden Island naval base on Sydney Harbor were being taken very seriously, Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said on Tuesday.

But O'Connor said he could not comment further because the matter was being investigated by the Department of Defense.

"I am always concerned if there are allegations of drug dealing anywhere," he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I understand that matter is under investigation, so it is being taken very seriously by Defense," O'Connor said.

"There are criminal sanctions for criminal acts and we would expect people to be treated accordingly and it wouldn't matter whether they were a civilian or a person from the military."

A group of sailors is believed to be running a lucrative drug distribution network from the Navy's Sydney Harbor Base, according to Australia's media reports.

News Ltd reported the drug ring's customers were mainly backpackers visiting Sydney.

Australia's New South Wales Police said they were also investigating the allegations.

"Further comment would be inappropriate," a spokeswoman told Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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