Cannabis seizure in NSW

NSW police seize $40 million worth of cannabis in historic raids

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New South Wales Police have carried out one of the largest bud busts since the 1970s, seizing over $40 million worth of cannabis during three raids last week. Resulting in more than 13,353 cannabis plants being destroyed, across properties on NSW’s mid-north coast. 

The first raid occurred last Thursday on a properly in Minimbah, resulting in the arrest of six men. At the scene, officers discovered over 5,500 cannabis plants – at an estimated value of $17 million. The cannabis was growing in professionally made and disguised greenhouses on the property. 

The men were taken to Taree Police Station and charged with cultivating and supplying a prohibited drug in a large commercial quantity, as well as participating in a criminal group.

While the men have not been identified to the public, police have stated they include:

  • A 31-year-old permanent resident
  • A 23-year-old and a 27-year-old on student visas
  • A 38-year-old and a 44-year-old on bridging visas
  • A 41-year-old who is allegedly in Australia unlawfully

Last Friday, police conducted two more raids on properties in Melinga and Moorland, seizing a further 7,700 cannabis plants. Police estimate these plants are worth over $23 million.

Eight men were arrested on Friday, including:

  • A 31-year-old permanent resident
  • Two men aged 22 and 27 on student visas
  • Two men aged 23 and 24 on bridging visas
  • Three men aged 22, 23, and 24 who are allegedly in Australia unlawfully

These men face the same charges as their cannabis colleagues. According to police, they are all Vietnamese nationals (the nation which arguably operates Australia’s largest cannabis black market criminal network). All men were denied bail and will appear in court in January. 

Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Superintendent John Watson told News.com.au that these raids are the most pot-prosperous since the 1970s. Watson believes this is partially due to indoor-growing.

These grow houses are weather controlled enabling the harvest of new plants every 12 weeks or so.

Police investigations into the operation are continuing this week, with NSW Police Minister, David Elliot, praising the bust as “remarkable”. These raids are part of a strike force formed in November last year by NSW police. In the first half of 2020, police seized $100.5 million worth of cannabis alone. 

And despite their vast haul across these raids, this is one of the first time the NSW Police Force has not taken to Facebook to share their success story.

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