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Dope growing operation busted in town centre

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
Marijuana

HIGH TIMES: Police have seized more than 300 cannabis plants from a Papatoetoe warehouse.

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A "substantial" cannabis-growing operation has been uncovered in the heart of Hunters Corner.

Counties Manukau police officers searched a Papatoetoe warehouse about 11pm last Friday after a number of tip-offs about suspicious activity.

"We received information from other businesses in the area who became aware of this place being all locked up and having the windows blacked out," Counties Manukau police west area commander Inspector Jason Hewett says.

Neighbours had also complained of the strong smell of cannabis, he says.

Officers found more than 300 plants at different stages of growth, from seedlings to fully mature plants about one metre tall, when they entered the building.

They also found a quantity of cannabis that had been dried and prepared for sale and a "small amount" of methamphetamine.

Mr Hewett says he comes across cannabis crops "fairly regularly" but this one was out of the ordinary.

"I think the thing that surprised me the most was the audacity of where it was. It was right in the heart of Hunters Corner and it really baffles me as to how they thought they would get away with it," he says.

"They obviously didn't really know what they were doing and hadn't been running very long."

If the plants had been grown to maturity the street value of the cannabis would have been in the tens of thousands of dollars.

More search warrants have been executed and inquiries are continuing into the case, Mr Hewett says.

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- Manukau Courier

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