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Registered: 03/15/10
Posts: 4,920
Loc: Devils Marbles Flag
Police sieze 8,000 plants in Melbourne raids
    #500270 - 11/23/10 11:05 AM (5 years, 10 months ago)


THEY have their own gardeners, electricians, house sitters and money launderers - the $400 million crime syndicates targeted in yesterday's statewide drug raids that police say are the biggest in Victoria's history.

While the raids took only hours to conduct, the operation was 15 months in the planning.

In August last year senior members of the Crime Department decided to go for gold. Instead of picking off one crop house at a time they would quietly gather intelligence against up to five interconnected drug cartels and then move in one massive blitz.
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Police remove cannabis plants from a property in Wyndham Vale.

Police remove cannabis plants from a property in Wyndham Vale. Photo: Pat Scala

As Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones said yesterday, ''Any fool can go out and bust drug syndicates at the street level.''

Yesterday's sweep involved nearly 650 police, who were briefed on Monday morning that they were about to raid 65 properties as part of Operation Entity. By midday police had arrested 43 suspects and seized nearly 8000 cannabis plants with a potential wholesale value of more than $30 million.

As the investigation progresses they expect to seize property with an estimated value of about $18 million under crime forfeiture laws.

Suspects range from the bottom to the top of the business: from crop sitters - illegal immigrants who sleep on filthy mattresses in gutted houses surrounded by growing crops - to syndicate bosses who have moved overseas hundreds of millions in laundered profits.

In the weeks leading up to the raids investigators checked each suspect property in Melbourne and regional Victoria to see if they were operating as indoor hydroponic marijuana farms. They were all found to be active crop houses and cannabis was seized at each property.

Since Operation Entity began police have raided 120 crop houses linked to five inter-related Vietnamese drug syndicates.

Some of the properties were owned by syndicate members, while others were rented. In each case syndicate ''electricians'' bypassed power meters to provide free electricity for the crops. Detectives will lay theft of power as well as drug cultivation charges.

Each house can produce 200 plants every 12 weeks with each plant producing 450 grams of genetically modified cannabis with a wholesale value of up to $4000. Police say each crop is valued at $80,000. They estimate the syndicates have produced 45 tonnes of cannabis in the past two years.

Earlier raids as part of Operation Entity resulted in police freezing assets valued at $20 million in Victoria and New Zealand. The two-year investigation has involved Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Department of Immigration and Citizenship and New Zealand police.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the investigation had ''identified a number of people of interest to our department … and we hope to interview them for our purposes at the earliest opportunity''.

Police had been planning yesterday's arrest phase for more than two months. The raids were to be conducted earlier in November but the need to provide security cover for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Melbourne pushed back the date.

''We were going to go some time ago. Because of other operational issues that impacted on whole state, in particular Hillary Clinton coming … unfortunately she took precedence,'' Detective Superintendent Gerry Ryan said.

He said raids would continue for the rest of the week and more arrests were expected. ''This is a fantastic outcome.''

He said the size of the local cannabis market created serious community health problems. Hundreds of millions of dollars had been leached from the economy to be sent overseas.

Bon Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Community in Australia (Victoria Chapter), welcomed the operation. ''The serious criminal activities of the Vietnamese nationals, many of whom are here on visitor or student visas, have damaged the otherwise successful integration and many positive … contributions the Vietnamese-Australian community has made in the last 35 years in Australia.''


I would have smoked some of that weed :mad2:


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Registered: 05/06/08
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Re: Police sieze 8,000 plants in Melbourne raids [Re: T-Rex]
    #500293 - 11/23/10 12:29 PM (5 years, 10 months ago)

:lol: That's the worst is when the large busts are so local you know for a fact you would have gotten to taste some.

There was a 100k plant bust in my county last summer, that would have been a lot of weed.

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Registered: 08/28/10
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Re: Police sieze 8,000 plants in Melbourne raids [Re: T-Rex]
    #500371 - 11/23/10 08:08 PM (5 years, 10 months ago)


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Re: Police sieze 8,000 plants in Melbourne raids [Re: lucas_southoz]
    #500385 - 11/23/10 09:06 PM (5 years, 10 months ago)

There looked like a couple of fat inidca's in the police footage too :sad:


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OfflineSir Smokes A-Lot
friend of the aliens

Registered: 09/17/10
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Last seen: 5 years, 6 months
Re: Police sieze 8,000 plants in Melbourne raids [Re: T-Rex]
    #501068 - 11/27/10 01:17 AM (5 years, 10 months ago)

Wow that's a lot of weed:shocked:

Good thing there are always new people who will take their palce:smile:


genetically modified cannabis

WTF? This wasn't mentioned in The Age article i read yesterday...

"Everybody seems to think I'm lazy
I don't mind, I think they're crazy
Running everywhere at such a speed
Till they find, there's no need"
Beatles song

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