Probe into alleged navy base drug ring
Could be the most serious scandal to hit ADF
Suspected ring involves "number of personnel"
AUTHORITIES are investigating what is believed to be a large drug-trafficking ring being run by navy personnel out of Sydney's Garden Island naval base.
The probe by NSW police and the Defence Department is believed to be focused on a core of sailors - potentially dozens - whom Defence believes are operating a lucrative drug distribution network from the Sydney Harbour base, which is the navy's main base in eastern Australia.
If proved, it would be one of the most serious drug-related scandals to hit the Australian Defence Force, which has struggled to contain the use of illicit drugs in its ranks.
A navy source yesterday said the issue was being treated seriously by the navy's top brass. "If these allegations are proved, then these people can kiss goodbye to their futures," the source said.
A Defence spokesperson yesterday confirmed that the ADF Investigative Service was examining the allegations.
"ADFIS is conducting an investigation into allegations involving navy personnel," the spokesperson said.
"As these allegations remain under investigation, it is inappropriate to comment on the specific nature of these matters."
The ADFIS is a tri-service body used only "for complex and major investigations" involving Defence members suspected of breaching the Defence Force Discipline Act.
A spokesperson for NSW police yesterday confirmed that police were "conducting an investigation into alleged illegal activity by navy personnel at Garden Island."
The suspected drug ring is believed to involve a "sizeable number of uniformed navy personnel" and according to one source, it has involved the sale of drugs to backpackers visiting Sydney.
It is unclear how long the investigation has been going and what drugs are allegedly involved.
No charges have been laid.