14 men have been charged in one of the biggest cannabis drug busts in Australian history, after police found over $40 million worth of weed on their property.
Across three properties on the north coast of New South Wales, a series of cannabis grow houses were discovered by the NSW Drug squad, within which over 13,000 cannabis plants were found.
Last week's drug seizure was carried out by Strike Force Harthouse, which was founded last November in order to mitigate the cultivation and supply of cannabis throughout the state. Occurring over two days, the NSW drug bust is now being considered one of the largest in Australia's history.
Over the two days, 14 offenders were arrested, and more than 13,000 plants were seized with an estimated street value of over $40 million. Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Superintendent, John Watson
The Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Superintendent John Watson spoke of the drug bust, stating that:
"As far as cannabis seizures go, we have not seen one of this size since the 1970s. The biggest difference is in 1975 outdoor crops were seasonal, so criminal groups were restricted to one crop a year, whereas these grow houses are weather controlled enabling the harvest of new plants every 12 weeks or so."
The 14 men charged ranged from 23 years old to 44 years old, with most of them on student or bridging visas, or staying within the country illegally. The raid began in Minimbah last Thursday, and progressed to Melinga and Moorland, with those arrested all charged with multiple cultivation and supply offenses.
All the men involved have since refused bail at Taree Local Court and are due to return to the court in January.
As Australia's medicinal cannabis prescription numbers continue to rise, so too do arrests of those found cultivating the plant illegally.
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