Four men have been charged after police seized nearly $13 million worth of cannabis during a raid in Sydney, Australia.
The bust was carried out by detectives with Strike Force Riche, which was established last year by the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the New South Wales (NSW) Crime Commission to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in cannabis cultivation and money laundering in hydro houses at several properties across Sydney.
During their investigation, detectives uncovered a remote property in Kemps Creek, south-west Sydney, which was being used to grow marijuana. A raid was conducted on Tuesday, August 25, during which the team found a total of 31 greenhouses on the property, four of which contained equipment for cultivating the drug.
In the four greenhouses, described as ‘large-scale grow houses’, investigators seized 4,297 cannabis plants with an estimated potential street value of $12.89 million (£7 million). Strike Force Riche detectives also seized $3,690 (£2,022) cash.
Four men, aged 19, 23, 26 and 41, were arrested at the property during the raid and charged with cultivating a prohibited plant (large commercial quantity) and participating in a criminal group.
Detectives were assisted throughout the operation by the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad, Wetherill Park Region Enforcement Squad, and Liverpool City Police Area Command, New South Wales Police reports.
Police have charged 12 people so far through their efforts to bust the criminal syndicate. The four men arrested on Tuesday were refused bail to appear in Liverpool Local Court today, Wednesday 26.
Police say the 19-year-old arrested on Tuesday had previously been involved in the large-scale cultivation of cannabis at a property in Gibberagee, where nearly $22 million worth of cannabis was seized in June.
The commander of the New South Wales Drug and Firearms Squad said the indoor cannabis-cultivation operation discovered in June was the biggest he has ever seen.
Literally fields of green in greenhouses, large industrial grow houses 40 metres in length.
There were 20 of them, 7,200 plants and over 50 kilograms of cannabis ready to go. We’re talking potential street value of nearly $22 million.
The property itself was used solely for the purpose of cannabis cultivation and was bordered by the Bungawalbin National Park, where the environment can be challenging for police.
Trong Tung Tan, 35, Khac Ngoc Mai, 34, Giant Hoang, 37 and Kien Sy Ngo, 20, were arrested in June, and charged with cultivating a large commercial quantity of a prohibited plant and participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity.