Drug money involved 'frightening'

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 16:08 03/07/2013

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A cannabis enterprise worth more than $1 million has been found by police in a warehouse in industrial Albany this morning.

Police executed a search warrant on a 120 square metre building in Parkhead Pl before 7am and discovered at least 1100 plants and a further 1200 seedlings.

A local business owner says he arrived at work to find the street "crawling with armed police".

"It is absolutely gobsmacking to think that level of operation was happening right under people's noses without any inkling of what was going on."

The warehouse is in a quiet industrial street and down a driveway, he said.

"We have been here for over 20 years and have never seen anything remotely like this.

"Police took us through this morning and it is something akin to Discovery Channel.

"It's military precision, everything is lined up in perfect rows and the sheer money involved is frightening."

Waitemata field crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Cramer said the sophisticated growing operation used 24,000 litres of water and up to $7000 of electricity each month.

The plants could collectively yield up to five crops a year, he said.

The business owner said he was now concerned for his family, knowing criminals were operating so close to his office.

"I've got kids in school and I'm worried. We just don't know who was involved.

"It all starts running through your head, where was it all going? If they are so unscrupulous to be running something like that then you can only imagine they'll be peddling it to school kids."

Nearby businesses have been warned of potential repercussions as a result of the discovery such as a loss of customers.

"It's horrendous. We've been told we could be on the news. I've had to contact all of my clients to tell them it has nothing to do with us," the business owner said.

Police said one man was assisting with their inquiries.

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