POLICE have unearthed cannabis crops with a street value of more than $8.3 million across the New England in a secret operation.
The Leader can reveal close to 4,000 plants have been seized and 45kg of cannabis discovered in a police sting spanning four days, stretching from east of Armidale to Tenterfield.
On a property at Diehard, near Glen Innes, police uncovered 2,000 cannabis plants – each worth $2,000 on the street – along with cannabis leaf that is estimated to be worth $300,000.
“This is a significant quantity of drugs that will not make it onto the streets,” New England Inspector Roger Best told The Leader.
“Police seized over 100 pound of cannabis head packaged and ready for sale from a property at Diehard.
“Those drugs and other items seized from the location will undergo forensic examination.”
The operation – involving the force’s drug squad, New England police, detectives, Target Action Group, crime management unit officers, as well the police helicopter.
“The sites searched included areas from east of Glen Innes to Tenterfield and then remote locations back down to areas north of Ebor,” Inspector Best said.
“There were 24 officers deployed each day in rugged and very challenging terrain.”
The weather hampered the fourth day of searches on Thursday meaning the police helicopter could not complete its tasking, forcing crews to trek 1km into the bush, up a steep mountain in the Chaelundi National Park, north-east of Guyra.
“The total seizure, which we estimate to carry a street value of more than $8.3 million is an excellent result for the community and justifies the resources that are put into operating it,” Inspector Best said.
The operation is part of the force’s cannabis eradication program – an annual drug operation run by the NSW Drug Squad and local police across four north and coastal commands including New England.
“This operation is driven by intelligence reports and that is why it’s important that the community alerts police to suspicious behaviour in and around these remote area because it’s often these reports that help lead police to these illegal crops,” Inspector Best said.
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