Eleven men arrested in Nimbin yesterday will appear in the Lismore Local Court today charged with a range of offences including drug supply and participating in a criminal group.
About 40 police, with sniffer dogs, swooped on Nimbin yesterday as part of Strike Force Cuppa, which was formed in August last year to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs. and consorting involving members of an alleged criminal syndicate within the township of Nimbin.
The strike force, comprising detectives from Richmond Local Area Command – and assisted by officers from Northern Region Operations Support Group (OSG) – executed six search warrants within the townships of Nimbin, the Gold Coast and Lismore.
Police seized an estimated 5kg of cannabis, MDMA Tablets, methyl amphetamine (ICE), two firearms, and a range of prohibited weapons including an electronic stun gun, defensive spray and a slingshot.
They also recovered property alleged to have been stolen, including power tools and a large generator.
Police also seized $55,000 cash that is alleged to be the proceeds of crime.
The men, aged between 21 and 35, were charged with a range of offences including consorting, supply prohibited drug, knowingly take part in supply of a prohibited drug, proceeds of crime and participate in a criminal group, among other charges.
All were bail refused to appear before Lismore Local Court today.
Richmond Local Area Command crime manager, Cameron Lindsay said tip-offs from the public were crucial to making the arrests.
‘Police will allege that the targets of this operation are living a gangster lifestyle, living in lavish style houses, unsupported by any form of income, frequenting casinos, flash cars and the like,’ he said.
‘You’d have to think the seizures we’ve been making recently have had an impact.
‘When you add this to more than $1 million worth of cannabis that was seized last week, together with significant seizures this week and arrests, it has to have placed some dent on their industry.’
Hemp Party president Michael Balderstone responded to the raid, saying it was hard not to think they weren’t ‘a bit political’.
‘I remember raids here before in the week before an election,’ he said.
‘Big Pharma has been under attack from quite a few candidates in this election and not just the HEMP Party which is based here in Nimbin.
‘The Health Party, Sex Party, Drug Law Reform Party, just to name a few.’
Mr Balderstone said Nimbin was one of the few places people could buy organic, outdoor cannabis for making medicine that treated a range of ailments.
He pointed to America where half the country was now able to access legal medical marijuana.
‘The results are coming in and all extremely positive with arrests way down of course as well as opiate overdose deaths (25 per cent), car accidents, alcohol use, suicides, domestic violence and so on.
‘In America President Obama is releasing non violent cannabis offenders from jail while here in NSW the Premier is planning on spending a billion dollars on new jails next year. We are being hoodwinked and organised crime is laughing all the way to the bank, or their mattress.
‘So many police involved in the raids today it must have cost a small fortune and nothing will have changed,’ he said.
‘The war on drugs is lost, drugs have won.’