Cannabis with an estimated street value of more than a million dollars has been recovered in a raid by Taranaki police.
On Tuesday Criminal Investigation Branch officers swooped on two properties, a residential house in New Plymouth and a rural property in Waitara where they discovered more than 100 kilograms of the class C drug drying in a large shed which was part of a commercial growing operation.
It was the second large discovery in two days after officers found more than 10 grams of the class A drug methamphetamine in a car in Waitara following a domestic dispute on Monday.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the two busts.
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Detective Senior Sergeant Brent Matuku said it was one of the biggest cannabis hauls recovered in recent years.
“This is a significant commercial activity that has been going on for a number of years police believe,” Matuku said.
“It’s clearly a commercial venture, these people aren’t supplying users at the pub or at home, this operation, this activity is clearly aimed at feeding the suppliers.”
Cannabis sells for an estimated $300 an ounce on the street.
Matuku said he believed the huge haul would significantly disrupt the cannabis trade in North Taranaki.
“This would be the largest seizure of cannabis heads ready for the street that we have had in a long time.”
Police also recovered $7000 in cash in the raid and the national asset recovery unit had been advised.
“The Wellington based unit will be making inquiries into the belongings and assets of the people involved and the property owners,” he said.
While the plants had been grown outdoors they were drying in the shed in purpose built ranks with fans and commercial diesel generators operating.
Matuku said inquiries into where the plants had been grown were continuing.
Two men, aged 47 and 49, have been charged with possession of cannabis for supply and were due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court.
Police were interested to hear of any sightings of an orange horse float or small furniture trailer being used particularly in rural Taranaki last weekend.
Anybody with information could contact Detective Christopher Ander on 021 191 5249 and all information would be treated as confidential.
Meanwhile officers investigating reports of erratic driving and a woman trying to get out of a car discovered more than 10 grams of methamphetamine in the vehicle.
Matuku said the woman had managed to escape the male and hid behind some heavy machinery.
While officers were making inquiries and trying to locate the male who had been driving the vehicle he had returned to the scene looking for the woman.
“While searching his vehicle looking for a knife alleged to have been used in a domestic assault, police located the knife and a significant amount of meth,” he said.
A 27-year-old Waitara man, charged with disqualified driving, assault, threatening behaviour and possession of methamphetamine for supply, appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody to reappear on April 27.