GOODS including irrigation systems seized from remote drug crops after this week’s $8 million cannabis bust will undergo forensic testing as police identity who is behind the illegal plantations.
The Leader revealed on Thursday police had seized almost 4,000 cannabis plants and 45kg of cannabis leaf from several areas in the New England.
The bust – which carried an estimated street value of $8.3 million – was uncovered in an operation involving New England police, the drug squad and PolAir searching areas between Armidale and Tenterfield.
“Some of these sites were very sophisticated in their setup with extensive netting and fencing, irrigation systems and fertiliser being carried into these vastly remote locations,” New England Inspector Roger Best told The Leader.
“In some areas, these offenders used chainsaws to clear areas to plant their crops.”
Inspector Best said investigators had seized several items from crop sites as they hunt those behind the drug plantations.
“Police have recovered a number of items of interest from several of the scenes where plants or cannabis leaf was seized,” he said.
“Those items will now undergo forensic analysis and specialist police will try and identity any DNA that could lead to the prosecution of offenders.
“A number of court attendance notices have been issued by police during the four day operation for drug-related offences.”
Officers encountered snakes, 40-degree temperatures and rough and rugged terrain.
“The sole purpose is eradicating these cannabis crop locations,” Inspector Best said. “The primary aim of these offenders in growing cannabis is not to be detected and this invariably leads to crops being cultivated in extremely remote locations.
“Invariably rugged terrain is involved making it difficult for the public to stumble across them and this will often see cultivators enter into national parks or state forests, like we have seen this week. This also means they can’t be easily linked to a person.”
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