skip to content
Banner image

Trafficking in controlled drugs

In accordance with the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) to traffic in a controlled drug includes selling a drug, having possession of the drug intending to sell it, or taking part in the process of sale of the drug [see s 4(1) for definition]. Section 32 provides the penalties for trafficking in controlled drugs. The maximum penalties vary in accordance with the quantity of drug found in the possession of the person and whether the person is found to be in possession of a large commercial quantity or commercial quantity [see s 32(1) for large commercial quantity; R v Clift [2010] SASC 79for an example; s 32(2) for commercial quantity].

In addition, s 32(3) prescribes an offence in trafficking in a controlled drug with no reference to quantity [see s 32(3)]. An offence under section 32(3) is recognised as a lesser offence because it lacks the element of commerciality [see R v Peel [2009] SASC 280 ]. It is also an offence to traffic a controlled drug in a prescribed area [see s 32(2a)]. Prescribed areas include areas such as hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and casinos [see ss 32(2a) and 32(6)].

Quantity deemed to be for the purpose of sale or supply

Section 32(5) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) provides that where it is proved the defendant had possession of a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug and it is alleged the defendant was taking part in the process of sale, it is presumed (in the absence of proof to the contrary) that the defendant was acting for the purpose of sale and had the relevant belief concerning the sale of the drug [see Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) s 32(5)(a)]. In any other case, where the defendant had possession of a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug (in the absence of proof to the contrary) the defendant is deemed to have the relevant intention concerning the sale of the drug [see s 32(5)(b)].

Offences involving children and school zones

It is an offence to sell, supply, or administer a controlled drug to a child, or have possession of a controlled drug for the purpose of sale, supply or administration of the drug to a child. The maximum penalty is a fine of $1 000 000 or imprisonment for life, or both [see Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) s 33F].

Furthermore, it is an offence to sell, supply, or administer a controlled drug to another person within a school zone, or have possession for the purpose of sale, supply or administration of the drug to a person within a school zone. The maximum penalty is a fine of $1 000 000 or imprisonment for life, or both [see s 33G]. Where a defendant had in his/her possession a trafficable quantity of a controlled drug within a school zone, it is deemed that the intention was one of sale or supply [see s 33G(2)].

School Zone means the grounds of a primary or secondary school and the area within 500 metres of the boundary of the school [see s 4(1) for definition].

Trafficking in controlled drugs  :  Last Revised: Mon May 21st 2012