Two charged after more than $5 million of cannabis seized - Drugs and Firearms Squad

Thursday, 09 September 2021 10:52:56 AM

Detectives have charged two people and seized $5.6 million worth of cannabis as part of ongoing investigations into the cultivation and supply of cannabis across NSW.

In November 2019, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad established Strike Force Harthouse to investigate the cultivation and supply of cannabis across NSW.

Their inquiries uncovered a factory in Silverwater being used for the large-scale cultivation of cannabis.

As part of ongoing investigations, strike force detectives executed a search warrant at the complex and a unit in Silverwater from about 3pm yesterday (Wednesday 8 September 2021).

A 24-year-old man was arrested by officers as he attempted to leave the factory in a Toyota Tarago.

During a subsequent search, investigators located a large indoor hydroponic setup containing more than 1600 cannabis plants, with an estimated potential street value of nearly $5.6 million.

Officers also seized equipment consistent with the cultivation and supply of cannabis.

A short time later, police executed a second search warrant at a unit on Beaconsfield Street, seizing around $100,000 cash, documents and clothing, before arresting a 27-year-old woman.

The man and woman were both taken to Granville Police Station, where they were charged with one count each of cultivate prohibited plant more than large commercial quantity-cannabis and deal with property proceeds of crime below $100,000.

Additionally, the man was charged with not comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 - COVID-19.

Police will allege in court the duo are part of a criminal syndicate and used the Silverwater property to cultivate cannabis for commercial supply.

Both were refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Thursday 9 September 2021).

Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Superintendent John Watson said the operation has successfully dismantled a dangerous operation.

“This particular setup was a large, industrial-scale warehouse, completely dedicated to the cultivation of cannabis and disguised as a legitimate business,” Det Supt Watson said.

“The proximity of significant amounts of electrical wiring to watering systems meant this property was of extreme risk to the public; something which is completely unacceptable.

“Make no mistake, operations of this scale have their profits immediately diverted into other more serious crimes and we will continue disrupt and dismantle them,” Det Supt Watson said.

Since Strike Force Harthouse commenced in 2019, officers have seized approximately 53,000 cannabis plants, and more than 873 kilograms of cannabis head worth approximately $170 million.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Harthouse investigators is urged to 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.