Police seize $3.2 million in cannabis crops
EIGHT people have been arrested and $3.2 million worth of cannabis has been seized in a large-scale police operation.
The State Crime Command's Drug and Firearms Squad, supported by local police and the Dog Unit, swooped on more than 70 locations across the region this week as part of the Cannabis Eradication Program, which began on Monday.
Tweed Byron Police District crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen said the program, which targets outdoor cannabis cultivation and has been running in NSW since the 1980s, came at the height of "prime growing season" and would put a large dent in local supply of the drug after police seized more than 1600 plants.
"That equates to about $3.2 million worth of cannabis being taken out of the supply chain in this local area," Det Insp Cullen said.
"It has interrupted, and disrupted, significantly, the supply chain of cannabis throughout this local area and has led us to gain further information about the supply chain."
The program has seen eight men aged between 30 and 60 arrested since Monday.
"Those people have been charged with various matters including the commercial cultivation of cannabis," he said.
Det Insp Cullen said officers had targeted dense bushland and other hard-to-access areas with the help of the Polair helicopter.
Some crops have been so inaccessible, police had to be winched in to extract the plants.
"The use of Polair is extremely valuable in identifying places where these cannabis plantations are growing," he said.
"The majority are in dense bushland, (in) normally inaccessible areas."
Det Insp Cullen warned those who think they might get away with growing cannabis in remote areas they would be caught.
"There may be a perception that you're working in isolation and you may not be detected but be assured we do have the resources to detect you," he said.
"We will disrupt your enterprises and the 1600 plants that we gathered ... this week is evidence of that."