THREE Sydney men will front court today facing charges relating to a $2 million cannabis crop found on a remote property near Inverell, but police say the plantation was about to expand with 4000 additional plants.
A three-day police operation wrapped up on a property on Baldersleigh Rd, Bundarra, yesterday, with officers seizing 1000 cannabis plants, along with fertiliser, pots and irrigation equipment.
The plants, protected by black plastic, were being grown in a cleared area of bushland. Most were about 20cm tall.
The police operation began on Sunday, when officers received information about the crop.
When they arrived, they found and arrested three men at the plantation site.
Police said the seized plants would have an estimated street value of $2 million.
Acting New England Local Area Commander Rowan O’Brien said police would allege the men intended to increase their plantation with 4000 empty pots also found at the scene.
He said the cleared area could have also accommodated an additional 4000 plants.
“In the area that was found fenced off, you could certainly suggest they (the arrested men) had plans for further cultivation of cannabis,” he said. “It looks like a well-funded, large-scale bush cannabis plantation site.”
Acting Superintendent O’Brien said the men, aged 58, 32 and 19, were charged with cultivating a large commercial quantity of cannabis.
They were refused bail and will appear in Inverell Local Court today.
The offence carries a maximum jail term of 20 years.
“Certainly due to the early detection of this site we’ve prevented an even larger-scale operation being conducted,” acting Superintendent O’Brien said. “Hopefully this is a message to people that would be considering coming up to the New England area to participate in this type of organised crime, in that the chances of detection even in remote areas is highly likely.”