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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Six men charged following cannabis raids

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A police helicopter winches cannabis plants during raids. (supplied)

Six people have been charged and 697 cannabis plants seized as part of raids across the northern rivers this week.

NSW police said the plants had an estimated street value of almost $1.4 million.

Six men, aged 36, 45, 49, 50, 60, and 66, were issued Court Attendance Notices for cannabis cultivation offences.

Police said investigations into the cultivation of cannabis in the local area were continuing.

The raids, which wound up yesterday, targeted outdoor crops of cannabis and have been widely criticised on social media, and by advocates of medicinal cannabis.

Echonetdaily had requested information regarding the costs of the raids, which involved local police and State Crime Command police but this request was ignored, as it has been for the many years the raids have been taking place.

Reports from locals indicate that up to  30 police officers, as well as dogs, 12 vehicles, a removalist type truck and  a helicopter had taken part in the raids.

NSW Police said the Cannabis Eradication Program began in the 1980s and targets outdoor cannabis crops in the optimal growing season which runs throughout the warmer months of the year.

‘Cannabis plants with an estimated potential street value of more than $300 million have been seized during the program’s lifetime,’ police said.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderston, a long-time critic of the raids, said police were out of touch with public opinion on the issue of cannabis use, especially for medicinal purposes.

‘Ninety per cent of weed is grown hydroponically by organized crime in warehouses yet they continue to target small growers here on the north coast,’ he said.

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