Latest crime statistics show Warrnambool has the third highest number of drug trafficking prosecutions in Victoria.
Crime Statistics Agency data for the year up until March revealed that Wangaratta topped the list with 103 cases, Dandenong had 39 and Warrnambool 36.
Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Asenjo, who oversees south-west crime investigation unit detectives, said a focus on recidivist offenders was helping drive up drug trafficking numbers, while key crime statistics in other areas such as burglary and theft were falling.
"What we do know is that drugs are a leading driver of crime in the south-west as well as family violence and issues on the roads," he said.
"It stands to reason that to build a safer community we, police members need to focus on the people causing the most harm."
Senior Sergeant Asenjo said Warrnambool police had a robust offender management program.
"Generally we know who commits the crime and target them. There is a responsibility for those who serve a sentence to assimilate back into the community," he said.
"But, it's very difficult to come back to regional Victoria and go to the places you used to go and hang out with the people you used to hang out with and not fall back into crime."
The detective said police members worked diligently with the courts, the justice department and other partners, such as those who provided drug and offender programs.
"We go and knock on the doors of people after they have served a sentence and ask what they need, what supports," Detective Senior Sergeant Asenjo said.
"But, us knocking on their door is also a message that we will be around.
"Where we find recidivist offenders, we find drugs, we are aware of those people and that's why we do so well in the drugs space."
Earlier this week a two-time drug trafficker who was intercepted driving a stolen vehicle in Warrnambool was jailed for six months.
Sarah Godwin, 32, pleaded guilty in the online division of Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week to offences, including trafficking methamphetamine, driving while disqualified and handling stolen goods.
Lawyer Jacqui Heisson said Godwin had spent 48 days in custody on remand, her client's third period of incarceration since November 2019 when she received 60 days for trafficking ice.
Godwin then breached a corrections order and received a further 25 days' jail.
Ms Heisson said Godwin's offending was confined to the last two years and sparked after the end of a 13-year "emotionally controlling" relationship.
She said Godwin was 12 weeks pregnant and was recently diagnosed with stimulant-use disorder as well as a major depressive disorder.
The court heard a black Holden Captiva was reported stolen to Warrnambool police at 12pm on August 2.
The victim told police he agreed to lend the vehicle to Godwin's boyfriend in order to take it for a test drive but the car was never returned.
Then on August 18 Godwin was intercepted driving the stolen vehicle south on Warrnambool's Hopetoun Road about 11.30pm.
Her driver's licence was last year disqualified for two years after she refused to undergo a breath test, the court heard.
A search of the vehicle located .93 grams of cannabis, an unknown white pill and drug paraphernalia.
A brief analysis of Miss Godwin's phone uncovered messages relating to the buying and selling of ice.
During a police interview, Godwin admitted to selling drugs in order to fund her personal use.
The court heard that at the time of the offending she was addicted to methamphetamine and was previously jailed for trafficking and possessing the drug.
Godwin also pleaded guilty to possessing .32 grams of ice on April 27.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann said Godwin's previous engagement with a corrections order was "ultimately unsatisfactory" and the order did not achieve its purpose of helping the woman overcome her drug addiction.
He said a psychologist report provided an insight into Godwin's background and new mental health diagnosis.
But he said drug trafficking, which the woman had now been convicted of twice in two years, was "severely criticised and condemned by the court".
"An immediate term of imprisonment is required," the magistrate said.
Godwin was jailed for six months with the 48 days she spent in custody on remand counted as time served.
She was also convicted, fined $1200 and her driver's licence was further disqualified for 12 months.
Senior Sergeant Asenjo said that all information provided by the public was acted on, and he encouraged people to make reports to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
He said drug impaired drivers were also a huge issue.
"Through roadside drug testing we now realise just how big the problem is," he said.
"Through policy changes we've strengthened our approach. One recent change is the immediate cancellation of driver's licence on a driver returning a positive test.
"Immediate penalties are far more effective and in line with community expectations. We want impaired drivers off the road straight away," he said.
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