CANNABIS CANYON: Police strip forests of cannabis crops
A RECORD haul of cannabis was seized by NSW Police's annual cannabis eradication program, which concluded on Thursday.
Operations south of Nymboida also recovered a firearm and ammunition in a humpy at one of the search sites.
"We're confident we will be able to follow up a number of inquiries in relation to two sites," Coffs/Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said.
"We'll be looking at following them up and charging them in the near future."
Over the four days Strike Force Hyperion was in operation, 2617 plants with a potential street value of $5.23 million was recovered from state forest and national parks around Bellingen, Dorrigo and Nymboida.
Searches of state forest south of Nymboida netted 1217 plants on Thursday alone, close to half the total seized in the operation.
The strike force was coordinated by the State Crime Command's Drug Squad in conjunction with Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command and supported by the Police Air Wing and radio technicians from Wireless Radio Network Services.
The record haul comes despite bad weather conditions and low level cloud hampering the Police Air Wing's search abilities for two days of the operation.
Coffs/Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said the results of the operation were pleasing.
"This week's seizures will create a dent in the supply of cannabis in the coming weeks throughout this command and other regional areas," he said.
"The issue with cannabis is that there are some who want to elevate this evil into the community as being good or safe, but the reality is that this view is without fact.
"With children as young as nine being caught with cannabis, the peddlers of this evil who want to say that the drug is safe, are really trying to hook users into a lifetime of drug use and padding their own pockets with cash.
"Cannabis use has significant negative effects on a person, and this is why it is illegal.
"A large number of users of other drugs used cannabis as a stepping stone to a lifetime of drug dependency.
"Even on social media people are jumping on and trying to lift the evil of cannabis in the community as being harmless, but they are wrong.
"Cannabis costs. It costs the community money, it costs you your health, it costs you your friends, it costs you your family, and ultimately it will cost you your life."
Det Insp Jameson said investigations into the persons responsible for growing cannabis at a number of crop sites is ongoing.