Cops smash $23m cannabis farm
Police have landed a major blow against an alleged national drug syndicate after more than $23 million in cannabis was seized from a rural Queensland property.
The state's drug squad uncovered almost 3000 cannabis plants in 19 70m-long greenhouses located at the sprawling complex in Coominya in the state’s Sommerset region on Monday.
More than 15000 cannabis seeds were also found in two hydroponic growth rooms, as well as about 33kg of dried cannabis which was being stored in the house and in a shipping container.
Police estimate the combined street value of the drugs located on the property to be approximately $23.1 million.
QLD Police inspector Brad Phelps said police believed the facility belonged to an alleged national drug syndicate with commercial production and distribution sites across QLD, Victoria, NSW, and the ACT.
“This was a large-scale production facility,” Mr Phelps said.
“This crop we can value at about $23 million, but (the syndicate) can produce three or four of these crops a year.
“So, this is s a significant disruption to this organised crime syndicate.”
Police believe the group was scouting, purchasing, and resourcing isolated farms in rural Queensland to grow cannabis on a large scale in order to distribute and sell the drug across Australia prior to Monday’s massive raid.
No one was located on the property at the time of the search.
On May 18, detectives conducted a search warrant at a Heathwood property where they located and arrested a 26-year-old man.
He has been charged with one count of producing a commercial quantity of the dangerous drug cannabis.
The man is expected to appear at Richlands Magistrates Court on June 6.
So far, Mr Phelps said officers attached to Operation Victor Alan had dismantled 12 growth centres of a similar size.
The special taskforce would also continue to work with interstate police to “eradicate” the syndicate altogether.
Mr Phelps said investigations were ongoing while police tried to located others involved at the Coominya site.
“These are isolated, rural locations where this production is occurring,” he said.
“They are often quite large and require a lot of human and physical resources to establish and continue.
“Locals – post event - often come forward with information, so we want people to come forward early.”