A significant hydroponic cannabis network operating across south east has been shut down as part of a joint operation between officers from the Queensland Police Service, the Australian Crime Commission and Australian Border Force.
The protracted operation culminated in a two-day closure involving 240 law enforcement staff who executed 25 search warrants yesterday across south east Queensland.
A total of 37 people have been charged with 108 offences across the operation.
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A significant aspect of the operation was the location of a warehouse situated in Acacia Ridge filled to the rooftop with equipment, believed to be worth $1.3million and used solely for growing hydroponic cannabis.
The warehouse which resembled a hardware store is believed to have been used to supply equipment to a variety of grow house operators across Brisbane.
Over the course of this six month operation police located 20 purpose built hydroponic grow houses resulting in the seizure of 3,704 cannabis plants, 45 kilograms of dried cannabis and cocaine with a street value of approximately $20 million along with a significant amount of cash.
“This investigation has once again highlighted the excellent working relationship which exists between the QPS and its partner agencies and the results have been outstanding,” Detective Inspector Lance Vercoe of State Crime Command’s Drug and Serious Crime Group said.
Australian Crime Commission State Manager QLD Charlie Carver said this investigation was illustrative of state and Commonwealth agencies working closely together for a greater good.
“The Australian Crime Commission shares information and intelligence with its law enforcement partners to discover, understand and respond to serious and organised crime.”
“These results are significant, not only for the large value of cannabis removed for the streets, but also for the disruption effect these activities will have on the syndicate involved,” Mr Carver said.
QLD ABF Regional Commander Terry Price said the operation located 25 people of interest to the ABF, which included 14 unlawful non-citizens, and that those not facing police charges have been detained ahead of their removal from Australia.
“We operate a robust and efficient visa programme, which is vital to Australia’s safety and prosperity. The ABF works tirelessly to combat any potential abuse of our visa system, particularly where this abuse is for criminal purposes. Today’s result highlights our focus and determination to locate and remove these criminals operating in the Australian community.
“We are very pleased with the results of this operation and confident we have significantly reduced the amount of drugs not only being supplied, but being produced here in Queensland. Striking at the core of the production cycle is a major win for us and is a high priority for our group and the QPS,” Acting Detective Superintendent Mark Slater of the Drug and Serious Crime Group said.