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POLICE

Neuchâtel dubbed Swiss ‘crystal meth capital’

Police in the western canton of Neuchâtel are reporting a worrying rise in use of the illicit drug crystal meth.

Neuchâtel dubbed Swiss ‘crystal meth capital’
Crystal meth is cheap but dangerous. Photo: crystalmethaddiction.org

Media reports quoting cantonal police said use of the drug had shot up last year.

“We are reaching a critical point,” Oliver Guéniat, head of the criminal police told Le Matin Dimanche.

“In 1998 there were around 20 methamphetamine addicts in Neuchâtel. Today the figure is over 1,200 and the number is rising by around 100 a year.”

Crystal methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, ice or speed, is a highly addictive white crystalline stimulant that can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken orally and that is associated with serious health conditions.

The reports said a study conducted by the University of Lausanne last year that tested wastewater from a number of Swiss cities found Neuchâtel had the highest level of consumption of crystal meth.

Researchers measured 33.4 milligrams per day per 1,000 people in the western Swiss city.

In Zurich, which came in second place, the measurement was 21.8 mg.

Neuchâtel is not known as a drugs hot spot of Switzerland. Experts believe crystal meth may have been spread through the availability of drugs from Thailand at Thai massage salons opened in the region in the 1990s.

The crystal meth market in Switzerland is reported to be still very small compared to consumption of cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

Switzerland- wide there has only been a small rise in the availability and consumption of the cheap drug, the reports said, quoting an expert report

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CRIME

Swiss woman indicted over ‘jihadist knife attack’ in department store

Swiss prosecutors said Wednesday they had indicted a woman for attempted murder on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) group over a brutal knife attack in November 2020.

Swiss woman indicted over 'jihadist knife attack' in department store

The 29-year-old unnamed woman allegedly attacked two women in a department store in the southern city of Lugano.

She has been charged with attempted murder and violating laws against association with Al-Qaeda, IS and related groups, according to the indictment.

She was also charged with unlawful prostitution.

EXPLAINED: Does Switzerland face a threat from terrorism?

The attorney general’s office said the indictment related to a “jihadist knife attack” and the alleged assailant, a Swiss citizen, “intended to kill her victims and to commit a terrorist act on behalf of IS.”

“The suspect acted wilfully and with particular ruthlessness. She brutally attacked her randomly-selected victims with a knife, with the aim of killing them and thereby spreading terror throughout the population on behalf of the ‘Islamic State’,” it said.

One of the two victims sustained serious neck injuries while the second victim, with help from others at the scene, managed to overpower her attacker and hold her until police arrived.

The attacker was arrested and detained. Police quickly discovered she had been linked to a 2017 jihadism investigation.

The woman had formed a relationship on social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria and attempted to travel to the war-torn country to meet him, police alleged at the time.

She was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, they said, adding that the woman had suffered from mental health problems and been admitted to a psychiatric clinic.

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