Investigations continue following drug cultivation in the state's north

Monday, 07 November 2022 02:27:08 PM

Police are appealing for information as investigations continue into the alleged cultivation and supply of cannabis in the state’s north.

Earlier this year, officers attached to Richmond Police District established Strike Force Birnam to investigate the cultivation and supply of cannabis across the state’s north coast.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives executed a crime scene warrant at a rural property in Ellangowan – about 20km southeast of Casino – about 6am on Friday 4 November 2022.

They were assisted by Tactical Operations Regional Support (TORS), Dog Unit, Police Rescue, and other specialist resources throughout the operation.

Investigators subsequently located and seized more than 8,000 cannabis plants, with an estimated potential street value of $40 million.

Six men – aged between 33 and 52 – were arrested during the operation and taken Casino Police Station.

Four of the men were charged with offences relating to drug cultivation and remain before the courts. Two of the men were released pending further inquiries.

As inquiries into the incident continue, police would like to speak with another man who may be able to assist with inquiries.

The man is described as being of Asian appearance, about 40-45 years old. He was seen at the time wearing a dark long-sleeve jacket, light coloured pants, and was carrying a backpack and a camouflage-coloured “bum bag”.

He was last seen in the rural Ellangowan area, with the nearest town centre being Casino.

Anyone who may have sighted the man, or has information into his whereabouts, is urged to contact Richmond police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Investigations under Strike Force Birnam are ongoing.

Anyone with information about the illicit cultivation of cannabis should contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.