Two people have been charged with large commercial drug supply, and police have seized more than 3,000 cannabis plants and nine stolen vehicles, as part of an ongoing investigation into drug cultivation and distribution in the Nambucca Valley according to a police report.
In April this year, officers from Coffs Harbour Region Enforcement Squad established Strike Force Anketell to investigate a criminal group involved in the large-scale cultivation, manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs across northern NSW.
The Strike Force was also investigating an alleged shooting incident at Kalang on Sunda, 26 April, 2020.
Their inquiries uncovered properties near Coffs Harbour being used to cultivate cannabis and store stolen goods, including vehicles.
Following extensive inquiries, strike force investigators, with assistance from the Tactical Operations Unit, arrested two men and a woman – aged 41, 36, and 21 – at a rural property in Thora, about 47km south-west of Coffs Harbour, about 6am yesterday (Wednesday, 16 September, 2020).
They were taken to Coffs Harbour Police Station.
Strike force investigators executed a search warrant at the Thora property, with assistance from the Drug and Firearms Squad’s Cannabis Team and Chemical Operations Unit, and local police.
During the search, police located three separate cannabis crops and seized almost 3,300 mature plants, with an estimated potential street value of more than $6.5 million.
They also seized 50 grams of methylamphetamine, cannabis leaf, and 3kg of MDMA, with an estimated potential street value of $165,000.
A second search warrant was executed simultaneously at a rural property in Missibotti, with assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad, Northern Region Operation Support Group and the Financial Crimes Squad’s Motor Unit.
Police located more than 180 vehicles and prohibited drugs, including one litre of GBL, cannabis and methylamphetamine. Initial inquiries suggest that nine vehicles, two trailers and a motor bike are believed to be stolen.
The 41-year-old man was charged with discharge firearm with intent, use unauthorised firearm, possess unauthorised firearm, manufacture prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), manufacture prohibited drug (indictable quantity – not cannabis), cultivate prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (x3) and knowingly direct activities of criminal group
The 36-year-old man was charged with discharge firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, manufacture prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), cultivate prohibited drug (large commercial quantity) and participate in criminal group.
They were refused bail to appear before Coffs Harbour Local Court today (Thursday, 17 September, 2020).
The 21-year-old woman was released pending further inquiries.
Investigations under Strike Force Anketell are ongoing and further arrests are expected.
Anyone with information regarding the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.