Cannabis plants seized

February 14, 2018

Police will have a zero tolerance for people lighting bushfires this summer.

A Melbourne man was arrested and charged after hundreds of cannabis plants were seized during a raid of a Numurkah home last week.

The Vietnamese man, 24, was arrested at a McGregor St property just after 6pm Wednesday, when police allegedly discovered a highly developed hydroponic operation.

A crime scene guard was placed at the property overnight, before Powercor ensured the electrical components of the area were secure the following morning.

Police from Melbourne arrived at the property on Thursday and seized 176 cannabis plants.

The raids were part of a newly-formed drug-busting police unit covering Victoria’s north-east.

The Eastern Region Division Tasking Unit will cover an area from Cobram to Mount Hotham and is focused on drug trafficking and associated offences.

The division will work closely with Numurkah police and other local stations to combat drug crime.

Numurkah police Sergeant Tim Gleeson said the man arrested was allegedly looking after the plants and it was believed he answered to a number of other individuals in charge of the operation.

‘‘The arrested man was just tending to the plants and wasn’t the main person,’’ Sgt Gleeson said.

‘‘The fellow is based in Melbourne and stays up here. While he’s away someone else will cultivate the plants and then remove the plants.’’

The raid was part of a Numurkah and Wangaratta police investigation that spanned months and Sgt Gleeson said police were still working to track down additional perpetrators.

‘‘We’re not entirely sure why they’ve chosen Numurkah. It’s a quiet town, there’s cheap housing, but that is still being investigated,’’ Sgt Gleeson said.

‘‘It was a very sophisticated set-up. They knew what they were doing. I can’t imagine there has been a bigger raid in Numurkah in the past few years, so we’re really happy with the result in getting the drugs off the streets.

‘‘Finding that many plants and arresting one person is just the start of the investigation.’’

The man was charged with cultivating and trafficking a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence and other drug-related offences.

He was remanded in custody and will appear at the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on May 7.

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