Huge drug haul for central police

BIG HAUL: A police staff member removes cannabis plants during a bust in the central region.
BIG HAUL: A police staff member removes cannabis plants during a bust in the central region.

Police seized more than 7000 cannabis plants along with ecstacy, methamphetamine and cocaine during the Central District's annual drug recovery operation.

A total of 7415 plants were recovered in this year's Cannabis and Crime Operation, held throughout the Manawatu, Taranaki, Whanganui and Ruapehu areas.

The aerial operation, which for the first time involved the use of the Air Force's NH90 helicopters, netted 5297 plants.

Running alongside the helicopter searches was a ground operation, which uncovered 2118 plants and resulted in 60 search warrants against drug dealers and cultivators.

Cannabis grows were found in 92 plots and 107 offenders were identified, resulting in 143 charges being laid.
Police also recovered 26.5 kilograms of dried cannabis, firearms, cocaine, ecstasy tablets, and 53 grams of methamphetamine at the raided properties.

Police seized 10,224 plants in last year's operation but the drop did not deter operation coordinator Detective Inspector Keith Borrell.

"While we are slightly down from last year on plants pulled, the focus of the operation is to remove the harm that illicit drugs and organised crime cause to communities," he said.

"Information received directly and through Crimestoppers has also played a key role in our operation. This partnered with our enforcement activities delivers a strong blow to illicit drug rings and helps make communities safe and healthy places to live in.''

Area results for aerial recovery phase:

Taranaki - 988 plants
Ruapehu - 1,810 plants
Whanganui - 2,075 plants
Manawatu (including Tararua and Horowhenua) - 424 plants

Search warrants

Taranaki - 12
Ruapehu - 5
Whanganui - 10
Manawatu (including Tararua and Horowhenua) - 33