Thousands of plants seized in raids
This year's police raids on cannabis growers has seen 988 plants uprooted in Taranaki.
The numbers released yesterday show the central district cannabis and crime operation removed a total of 7415 cannabis plants in Taranaki, Whanganui, Ruapehu and Manawatu.
The aerial operation brought in a haul of 5297 plants, with the remaining 2118 coming from search warrants.
In the Ruapehu area 1810 plants were removed, in Whanganui 2075 and in Manawatu (incorporating the Tararua and Horowhenua) 424 plants.
Although the numbers were slightly down from last year on plants pulled, the focus of the operation was to remove the harm that illicit drugs and organised crime caused to communities, Detective Inspector Keith Borrell, central district operation co-ordinator said.
Borrell said the annual operation started with an intelligence-gathering phase and was followed by an aerial recovery phase using air force Iroquois helicopters to winch police officers into cannabis plots.
In the central district, cannabis plants were located in 92 plots and 107 offenders were identified, resulting in 143 charges.
Officers also located and recovered 26.5 kilograms of dried cannabis, firearms, cocaine, ecstasy tablets and 53 grams of methamphetamine.
Borrell said information received directly and through Crimestoppers also played a key role in the operation.
Police say anyone with information about drug cultivation, manufacture or supply can anonymously phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Taranaki Daily News