NSW police destroy cannabis crops collected during raids
POLICE will mark the end of cannabis harvesting season by torching the latest crop discovered during a series of stings which have stripped North Coast drug growers of about $25million in sales.
Since November last year thousands of plants have been discovered in bushland between the Mid North Coast and the Queensland border.
The cannabis eradication program kicked off this season with raids near Tenterfield where crops worth almost $7million were destroyed.
In the following months police ripped up crops worth $4million near Dorrigo, $3.6million in the Tweed/Byron area and $4.2million around Nimbin valley.
State Crime Command drug squad chief Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham said since the program began in the late 80s, almost half a billion dollars worth of the drug had been stopped from reaching the streets.
He said growers were being forced into "deeper and more dense" bushland and crops were getting smaller in an attempt to avoid detection.
"Some people think cannabis is a harmless drug," Supt Bingham said.
"It's not. Every time we destroy a crop, we're reducing the amount of cannabis that makes it into homes, schools and workplaces across the state."
This week, PolAir swooped in on dense bushland outside Bellingen where growers were in the process of harvesting.
So far, plants with a potential street value of $300,000 have been found and destruction will continue Friday.
November 18-23, 2012
New England LAC (Diehard, Tenterfield, Glen Innes,Carrai, Glen Elgin) - $6.9 million (3450 plants)
December 9-14, 2012
Coffs/Clarence LAC (Bellingen, Tyringham, Nymboida,Copmanhurst, Cangai, Coutts Crossing, Dorrigo, Brushgrove) - $4 million(2300 plants)
January 13-18, 2013
Mid North Coast LAC (Bowraville, Wauchope, PortMacquarie, Kendall) - $5.8 million (2914 plants)
February 17-22, 2013
Tweed/Byron LAC (Mullumbimby, Burringbar, Chillingham,Glengarrie, Cudgera Creek) - $3.6 million (1816 plants)
March 3-8, 2013
Richmond LAC (Boorabee, Gradys Creek, Nimbin,Rapville, Tabulam) - $4.2 million (2099 plants)
April 2-4, 2013
Coffs / Clarence LAC (Bellingen, Glenreagh, Tyringham) - $300,000 (150 plants)