ABOUT $1.6 million worth of cannabis was found in two days as a police heli- copter, dogs and officers swooped on outlying villages in the Tweed and Byron shires.
The NSW Police Drug Squad, along with the police air wing, dog squad and Tweed Byron Police officers began the Cannabis Eradication Program (CEP) in the region on Monday and will continue until tomorrow, Drug Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham said.
“So far we have conducted the CEP in Huonbrook, Upper Wilsons Creek, Billynudgel, Yelgun, Upper Main Arm, Mullumbimby Creek, Coorabell and Saint Helena,” Det Supt Bingham said.
Yesterday, the searches were staged in the Chillingham, Tyalgum and Mount Warning areas.
Locations for today and tomorrow could not be disclosed.
Despite reports, Det Supt Bingham said the program was not operating across the border.
During the first two days of the program, police seized 824 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $1.6 million.
“Our operation is intelligence-based,” he said.
“We gather information on potential growing areas from various sources, then use a helicopter, four-wheel-drive and foot to access the areas.
“We conduct winching operations to remove the plants from remote, difficult-to-access, terrain.
“Assistance from the public is useful and most of our intelligence packages come from information from the public.”
Det Supt Bingham said no one has been charged at this time.
“The main objective of the CEP is to locate and destroy crops to disrupt the supply chain,” he said.
“The program operates each year from November through to March."
Last year’s operation netted 2446 plants, ranging from one to five metres in height, with an estimated street value of $4.8 million.
Police seized 824 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $1.6 million in two days.
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