Eight arrests in Nimbin drug raids, more expected
UPDATE 9.30am: THE police operation that raided Nimbin's Cullen St yesterday led to the arrest of eight people and the seizure of two kilograms of cannabis which included a raid on a cafe and bookshop.
Operation Oleary was established by police attached to the Richmond Local Area Command in March 2014 to target cannabis supply in the local community.
Richmond Local Area Commander Superintendent Greg Martin said yesterday the arrests were the culmination of almost six months of work by his Drug Unit.
"As a result of this operation, we have dismantled a criminal group we allege was responsible for supplying significant amounts of drugs throughout the Nimbin area," Superintendent Martin said.
"I'm aware of the reputation this area has had for a number of years, in regard to drug use and supply.
"Concerns from members of the community have triggered today's action, and the results should demonstrate that we are committed to working on this issue.
"Those charged with ongoing drug supply face up to 25 years jail. We will continue to target drug offenders and treat them with the seriousness they deserve," he said.
The operation is still underway. Further seizures and arrests are expected.
5.10pm, September 11: SEVEN people have been arrested and police are looking to arrest a dozen more following a coordinated police drug bust in Nimbin and Jiggi yesterday.
The operation was six months in the planning and involved 70 police officers in simultaneous raids on two Nimbin businesses and a rural Jiggi property.
The bust kicked off around noon when police officers with buses and drug dogs converged on Cullen St, Nimbin, conducting searches of shops and arresting several people.
Two Nimbin business owners were arrested in the raids.
Half a kilogram of cannabis was seized by 2pm.
An anonymous witness described a makeshift testing station set up outside a police van parked in front of the town hall.
Sniffer dogs were taken in and out of businesses and police were apprehending people suspected of being in possession, including some people who were working in the shops.
The van was used as a preliminary charging station and some people were then taken to the police station further down Cullen Street.
Last night police were continuing their search of the Jiggi property, which is understood to be home to a large and mature cannabis plantation.
"We've had some 70 police here from the northern part of NSW, including the northern region, western region and specialist police from Sydney assisting us in this operation," Richmond LAC commander, Superintendent Greg Martin said yesterday.
"We will be alleging that at least two businesses in the township of Nimbin have been selling illegal drugs and there has been persons charged as a result of that."
Supt Martin said in addition to half-a-kilogram of high-THC cannabis, police had also seized LSD, ecstacy, and drug use paraphernalia.
While police received a "mixed reception" Supt Martin said the operation was prompted by ongoing community concern over the flagrant dealing of drugs in Cullen St.
"It's those people that are going about these activities...we targeted today that are dragging down Nimbin," he said.
"What we rely on are the public to give us information about who is doing what, and we will act on that."
He made the point that drug use was creating mental health issues in the community.
"This command is consistently in the top three in the state with mental health interventions."