This week, Victorian police have seized millions in cannabis from several grow houses in Melbourne’s western suburbs as part of a new blitz on cannabis operations.
Police from the Westgate Divisional Response Unit (DRU) carried out twenty search warrants on suspected grow houses between Monday and Wednesday this week (August 30th – September 1st). Their blitz targeted homes in Hoppers Crossing, Point Cook, Williams Landing, Werribee and Tarneit and surrounding areas. The raids follow an extensive drug investigation dubbed “Operation Irymple”.
As a result of the raids, police seized approximately 1,600 live cannabis plants from the properties. The plants weigh a combined total of over a tonne and are worth over $4 million. They have been transported to Victoria Police’s Forensics Services Centre in MacLeod for investigation. After the court process, the plants will be destroyed.
Despite seizing such a high number of cannabis plants, police haven’t made any arrests connected to the grow houses. However, they are continuing their investigations and have gathered “significant intelligence” as part of Operation Irymple.
In an article published by Victoria police, Westgate DRU Sergeant Vince Zurzolo mentioned that the raids are part of an effort to keep Victoria safe from the harms of cannabis. He describes these harms as drug driving, drug-debt related violence and family violence.
That’s why operations such as these where we ensure millions of dollars worth of drugs don’t end up the streets are crucial to improving overall community safety.
While $4 million cannabis is an impressively large haul for police, it’s only a tiny percentage of the cannabis in Victoria, as Australia is riddled with grow houses. In the past, Victoria police have estimated that the state has as many as 1,500 grow houses in operation that police don’t have the resources to investigate. This isn’t entirely surprising, considering cannabis is Australia’s favourite drug.