Police charge three after 1500 cannabis plants worth nearly $6 million seized

Detectives have charged three people and dismantled nine hydro houses as part of an investigation into large-scale cannabis cultivation in Sydney.

In May 2019, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad established Strike Force Garford to investigate the hydroponic cultivation of cannabis in Sydney.

Their inquiries uncovered a network operating multiple hydro houses in rental properties in residential areas across Sydney’s south west and north west.

Following extensive inquiries, Strike Force Garford investigators, with the assistance of North West and South West Metropolitan Region Enforcement Squads and Raptor North, executed 13 search warrants across Sydney and the Central Coast from 6am today (Tuesday 1 October 2019).

Police located elaborate hydroponic set-ups in nine homes at Bankstown, Granville, Dundas Valley, Eastwood, West Ryde, Epping, Northmead, and Gorokan, which were examined by specialist forensic officers.

In total, investigators seized about 1500 cannabis plants, with an estimated potential street value of more than $5.8 million.

After dismantling the set-ups, investigators also seized hydroponic, electrical, and lighting equipment, as well as chemicals.

During the operation, a 27-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were arrested at units at Bankstown, and a 28-year-old man was arrested at a home at Gorokan.

The woman was charged with cultivate prohibited plan (commercial quantity-cannabis x2), use/consume/waste electricity without authority (x2), enhanced indoor cultivate cannabis for commercial purpose, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The 44-year-old man was charged with cultivate prohibited plan (commercial quantity-cannabis), use/consume/waste electricity without authority, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Police will allege in court that the man and woman were both responsible for organising the establishment and maintenance of the hydro houses.

They were both refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court today.

The 28-year-old man was taken to Wyong Police Station and charged with knowingly take part-cultivate large commercial quantity-cannabis, and use/consume/waste electricity without authority.

He was refused bail to appear at Wyong Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 2 October 2019).

Investigations under Strike Force Garford are continuing, and further arrests are expected.

Seven indicators of drug manufacturing and supply

1. Strange odours emanating from the property

2. Diverted electricity

3. Chemical containers and waste

4. Blacked out windows

5. Hoses and pipes in strange places

6. Blinds down, with extremely bright indoor lighting radiating through gaps

7. Vehicles arriving at odd hours

Anyone with information in relation to the cultivation and supply of cannabis is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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