Large-scale cannabis haul arrests seven
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
POLICE spent yesterday destroying a haul of cannabis from throughout the Northern Rivers with an estimated street value of $5 million.
Richmond Local Area Commander Supt Bruce Lyons said more than 2500 plants were seized from Tabulam, The Channon, Nimbin, Kyogle, Casino and properties surrounding those areas.
Seven people were arrested in the five-day operation, which began on Monday.
Supt Lyons said the largest individual haul involved 1400 cannabis plants and 14.5kg of dried cannabis, but the location of the property could not be revealed as investigations were continuing.
He said the estimated street value of the bust had taken into consideration the fact that most of the plants were mature.
"They were up to three metres high and the majority were mature plants," he said.
"They were ready to harvest and could have been being sold on our streets in the near future."
He said the annual operations had resulted in a gradual reduction of large cannabis crops being grown on the Northern Rivers.
"The continuation of these eradication operations over many years has seen a decline in the number of large-scale plantations which were in existence in the region years ago," he said.
"I think the eradication programs have been directly responsible for the decline of the types of plantations that were around 10 years ago."
The operation involved police officers from the Richmond Local Area Command, State Crime Command and one police helicopter.
Supt Lyons said the areas targeted were chosen as a result of intelligence gathered by police over the past few months.
"This operation was part of the overall drug enforcement strategy of the command," he said.
"These operations help prevent large-scale commercial crops becoming more predominant and should send a message to potential growers that this will not be tolerated."
Police are further checking a number of areas as a result of the raids.