7000 plants found in Northland drug swoop

The first phase of a Northland-wide drugs operation has netted almost 7000 cannabis plants and led to 11 arrests.

The results so far for Operation Lucy, which started earlier this month, come from a police report due to be delivered to a Whangarei District Council meeting tomorrow.

Phase one is understood to have targeted the Kaitaia area where police, with the aid of tip-offs, investigations, a helicopter and spotter plane, located and destroyed 6523 cannabis plants. Police are not commenting at present but they are expected to provide full results for the operation in due course.

Also found was 2kg of dried cannabis, 29 "tinnies", 1g of methamphetamine (also known as P), six firearms, $525 cash and a stolen motorbike worth $4000.

Eleven people were arrested and two others issued with warnings.

Between searches, police were deployed at road checkpoints where they issued 29 tickets for offences such as no registration or warrant of fitness. They also caught one disqualified and one suspended driver.

Another phase of the operation targeted the Mid North including Kaikohe, Oromahoe and Kerikeri.

When police conducted their annual blitz on cannabis growers last year, the entire operation saw 103 people arrested and more than 48,000 cannabis plants pulled up or sprayed with herbicide.

Fifteen indoor growing operations were found as well as 17 firearms and $11,000 in cash allegedly linked to the drugs trade.

More than 1100 thriving cannabis plants were found in one Far North plantation.

It is too early to compare the results of this year's operation with 2013's drug seizures.

Northern Advocate

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