Nimbin's drugs are back in sights
LOW-FLYING helicopters returned to Nimbin this week as part of Strike Force Farrelly’s ongoing cannabis eradication program.
Drug Squad officers seized 350 plants valued at $700,000 on Monday and expected a similar haul yesterday.
State Crime Command Superintendent Nick Bingham, personally overseeing the operation, was happy with the progress so far.
“A lot of these crops are in very isolated locations with treacherous terrain so it can take some time winching officers in and out and extracting the crops,” he said.
“We’re up here for the rest of the week and we hope to have a disruptive effect on the supply of cannabis in Northern NSW and South-East Queensland.”
Strike Force Farrelly has been operating throughout NSW for more than three months, seizing an estimated $50 million worth of cannabis over that period.
Three weeks ago, the strike force targeted the Tweed-Byron Local Area Command confiscating almost 2500 plants, valued at $5 million, in one week.
Strike force co-ordinator, Detective Senior Sergeant Alex Dipple, said the joint operation, in conjunction with the Richmond Local Area Command, would run until Friday and would target the whole command from ‘end to end’.
“We had some issues with the cloud on Monday, but hopefully the weather will hold,” he said. “We’re appreciating the softer ground up here. It was a lot tougher trying to uproot plants out at Nyngan where the ground was rock hard,” he said.
While a drug law reform symposium at SCU last week questioned the cost of policing cannabis, Supt Bingham said that was a political issue and his job was to enforce the law.
“Cannabis is the most prolific illegal drug used in the country. Some people call it a soft drug, but it causes mental illnesses and breaks up families. Kids also need to know that getting caught can ruin their career opportunities.”
STRIKE FORCE FARRELLY
Polair 1 chopper with special detection. equipment and five crew.
Seven officers from the State Crime Command’s elite drug squad.
Six four-wheel-drive ground support vehicles.
Eight officers from the Richmond Local Area Command.
Drug sniffer dog squad.
Radio communications support officer.