Police charge man after cannabis plants worth more than $6 million seized near Cobar

NSW Police have seized more than $6 million worth of cannabis and charged a man as part of an ongoing investigation into outdoor cannabis cultivation in the state’s Central West.

Acting on information, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearm Squad, under Strike Force Hyperion, commenced an investigation into outdoor cannabis cultivation in the state’s Central West.

Their inquiries uncovered a 20,000-acre property near Cobar being used for outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives, with assistance from Central North Police District, executed a search warrant at a remote property at Tindarey, about 80km north of Cobar, from midday yesterday (Tuesday 31 March 2020).

Officers located and seized more than 3020 cannabis plants with an estimated potential street value of more than $6 million.

Police also seized a loaded double barrel shotgun and cannabis from a home on the property.

A 34-year-old man was arrested and taken to Cobar Police Station where he was charged with cultivate prohibited plant (large commercial quantity), possess unregistered firearm, possess unauthorised firearm and possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority.

Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the large-scale cultivation and supply of cannabis across NSW.

The Griffith man was refused bail to appear at Bourke Local Court today (Wednesday 1 April 2020).

Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Watson, said criminals using isolated and regional areas of New South Wales to grow cannabis crops will not go unnoticed.

“This seizure is the largest outdoor cannabis crop located by the NSW Police Force since 2017 – with officers removing more than 3000 plants from the one location,” Det Supt Watson said.

“This property stretched over 20,000 acres and was a dedicated plantation used solely for the purpose of large commercial cannabis cultivation and supply.

“We know from experience that criminal syndicates will often re-invest profits made from these crops into other illicit enterprises.

“We want the community to know that our officers will continue targeting these criminal networks that remain in operation preying on Australians at this difficult and vulnerable time.

“Information from the community can be the vital piece of information that leads our investigators to an arrest, so if you see something suspicious please contact police or Crime Stoppers immediately,” Det Supt Watson said.

Investigations by the Drug and Firearms Squad are continuing, and further arrests are expected.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to the cultivation and supply of cannabis to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our social media pages.

/Public Release. View in full here.