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Police have seized and destroyed $2 million worth of outdoor cannabis plants in the wider Auckland area as part of a major operation this week.
Operation Lucy is targeting outdoor-grown cannabis across the wider Auckland region, and the NZ Air Force assisted police in this week's recovery phase.
More than two thousand cannabis plants were found, seized and destroyed. The plants were growing in forests, swamps, rivers and rural property and crops were found in locations including Port Waikato, Muriwai, Piha, Kaipara Flats, Helensville & Great Barrier Island.
Similar recovery operations will are expected across Auckland in the next few months.
Sixteen search warrants have been executed across Auckland, and at this stage eight people (seven men and one woman, aged between 29 and 58) have been charged with cultivation of cannabis. More arrests are expected.
"This is a great result. Some of the plants that we seized had obviously been growing for quite some time and I have no doubt that this has dealt a real blow to the criminal element," operation head Detective Sergeant Callum McNeill said.
Police staff from Counties Manukau, Waitakere, Rodney, North Shore, Auckland City and Counties Manukau were involved in the operation, which owed its success in part to information provided by the public.
Det Sgt McNeill urged people to keep their eyes open for signs of cultivation.
"Even though it's getting to the end of the growing season growers are still tending to their plots, and anyone who notices something that doesn't look quite right - for example lights in the bush after dark or people in places that you wouldn't expect anyone to be - is encouraged to contact Police or the Crimestoppers organisation anonymously on 0800 555 111."