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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

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A police helicopter hovers over Main Arm yesterday. Image supplied

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite ‘blokes’, preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby. Like a few folk in the hills growing cannabis.

It seems like every ‘cops and robbers’ movie from Smokey and the Bandit to the Blues Brothers or The Untouchables has painted the local cops as buffoonish no-hopers who can’t be trusted to chew ‘baccy’ and spit at the same time.

A hive of activity at Barry Lomath Oval on Tuesday in Mullumbimby. Photo Echonetdaily Drudge.

In this latest operation, the Byron Bay police media spokesperson claimed that they didn’t even know there was an operation being run from the Barry Lomath Oval in Mullumbimby, opposite the local high school. An operation that involved helicopters, 4WDs and a lot of police that could be seen by any passer-by. Have to ask Sydney about that! If true, that’s ludicrous.

The co-founder of The Byron Shire Echo, whose family still holds a ownership share in the newspaper.

Start of The Echo

But this sort of out-of-towners operation is exactly the one that caused so many police to be disciplined, resign, or be sacked after The Echo‘s founder, Nicholas Shand along with other locals, complained to the Ombudsman about their heavy-handed antics way back before The Echo was founded in 1986. Of course the Northern Star‘s refusal to cause a stink about the police’s scandalous behaviour at the time was a motivation for founding our paper.

Unidentified flying police helicopter spotted by locals tending their crops in Main Arm. Photo Anonymous.

Well, the Northern Star was sold to Murdoch and has retreated online now, but it seems we are repeating the same old news. Everyone in town seems to think that some kind of heroin and MDMA bust happened in Main Arm, as well as the seizure of what seems to be a pathetic haul of plants, but again, ‘you’ll have to ask Sydney about that’.

Imagine if they actually addressed real crime?

Sure, nothing looks better than a big pile of drugs and cash laid out on a white background, even if they’re not your own, but surely the locals have a bit more of a handle on who the really bad elements are around here?

The idea of just casting a big net on one day and then catching everything alive and taking it back in a truck to Sydney just seems like a box-ticking exercise, driven by a cultural clash, rather than an attempt to weed out the real source of drug-based problems in our town. And the lack of information from the police just confirms that suspicion.

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  1. What a waste of resources! Meanwhile, real crime is ignored and cops are let off assault charges.

    I was introduced to cannabis back in the ’70s – by my nextdoor-neighbour copper no less!

    He had smashed up so many police cars while pissed that he’d lost his driver licence and was chained to a desk job at state police HQ – whence he had access to the bounty room. He freely helped himself to that bounty for years and was eventually promoted to high ranks in the force.

    Talk about hypo-fucking-critical!

  2. This and the acquittal of the teen beater cop(4 on 1 and they needed to batten him 16 times while pinned to the ground) Police state wins.

  3. Completely agree. You have to wonder who this masturbatory overkill is ultimately directed to. Is it macho bravado where they all sit around afterwards comparing their quarry and one-uping each other as to how many hippies they’ve traumatised? Or is it based on a deeper cultural mistrust that stems more from politicians? Whatever it is, one day they’re going to be called to account and it won’t be pretty/

  4. Why don’t the police do a real job and arrest the real criminals. Its well know Cannabis has therapeutic values. They may just be stopping a cancer sufferer from getting their supply.

  5. You may not wish to post this. Do some checking for actual facts yourselves?
    But an article in your paper about this may prove a point about going after cannabis while real dangerous drugs are being circulated through our community at will by organised crime syndicates?
    “I remember reading some years back, that the most important arrest ever associated with the Nth Coast cannabis eradication program was that of Mark Standen, the “Officer in charge of the Nth Coast Cannabis eradication operation”. He was charged with the largest importation of Meth in Australia’s history at the time”?

  6. legal in canberra…..can’t have politician’s children charged……and also they must have overcome all the bad effects of smoking weed rhat made it illegal……for to save us…….lol

  7. I’d hardly call this type of operation “bust a hippy”. It’s pretty rare for anyone to ever be arrested when they pull crops from our local national parks and nature reserves – you’d have to be dead stupid.
    I’ve got nothing against someone growing weed for personal use, but I actually support these operations that find and remove crops in our national parks. It’s not what national parks are for. These growers show no respect for nature and wildlife. They often fall trees and native vegetation when they find a “suitable” site, their gardening introduces a range of weeds and soil pathogens into near-pristine areas, they leave rubbish, waste and long-lasting tracks. Locals, visitors & even parks staff I’ve spoken to are scared for their safety in areas like Koonyum Range and Commissioners Creek. Good riddance I say!

  8. It feels good to be on the winning side, I feel sorry for those poor buggers on the losing side, but at least they get some good sightseeing from that chopper of theirs.


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