Police disrupt cannabis growing operation
KATHRYN KING AND KAROLINE TUCKEY
Almost half a million dollars in drug related assets have been seized by police and two people arrested after a raid on a rural Levin property.
A police search, code named Operation Octopus, was carried out at the Levin property yesterday morning, following an eight-month investigation into an illicit drug supplier in Auckland.
Operation Octopus coordinator Constable Jim Dunlop said police and armed offenders squad members spent more than four hours searching the house, situated on a lifestyle block.
They found 42 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, 36 inside and six outside.
Mr Dunlop said police believed the cannabis grown at the property was being transported to Auckland for sale there.
Seven firearms were also seized, including a loaded shotgun found in a bedroom.
A boat and trailer, a 4x4 vehicle and a ride on lawnmower were also taken under the proceeds of crime act.
A 47-year-old man and his 45-year-old wife were arrested and have been jointly charged with cultivation and sale of cannabis, and possession for supply.
The pair were likely to face further charges.
They are scheduled to appear in the Levin District Court on February 20.
Mr Dunlop said the couple had no criminal history, no gang connections, and for all intents and purposes were ''your average mum and dad couple living on a small lifestyle block''.
An adolescent boy was also found at the property, but he remains in the care of his parents.
Staff from Manawatu, Horowhenua and Wellington were involved in the operation, with twelve staff searching the property.
''An immense amount of time and effort from various units within the police and other organisations was put into this operation and as a result a sizable dent has been made in the cultivation, sale, and supply of cannabis in the North Island," said Constable Dunlop.
''Police are committed to dismantling illicit drug networks and public support is vital in helping us keep drugs out of communities ensuring they are safe places to live.''
If anyone has any information about drug cultivation, manufacture or supply rings please contact your local Police Station. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
- © Fairfax NZ News
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