Woman kits out house to grow dope

By CHRISTINE MCKAY

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Police from around Hawke's Bay have swooped on a home east of Dannevirke uncovering a "sophisticated" cannabis growing operation.

"Police from Pongaroa, Pahiatua and Dannevirke, along with a police dog handler from Napier, executed a search warrant at Pongaroa on Monday where a 44-year-old woman was arrested and charged with the cultivation and possession of cannabis," Senior Constable Dave Kirk of the Pongaroa police said.

He said inquiries were continuing. "This was quite a sophisticated indoor growing operation and one of the bigger such operations in Pongaroa. It was definitely much more than just a plant in a planter box set-up." He said a bedroom in the house had been lined and insulated, with the cannabis plants growing under lights. "We also discovered an experimental hydroponic set up in another room and in the garage two lined growing rooms under lights, with dehumidifiers and fans," he said.

Alongside the grow room, officers had found a grow tent where leaf material was drying.

The woman arrested was to appear in the Dannevirke District Court on Monday, August 27.

Mr Kirk called drugs a "scourge" and said much of the success in the battle against cannabis had been the result of community involvement.

And he had a message for others contemplating becoming involved in cannabis operations: "At some stage police will knock on your door," he warned.

In June 38-year-old Dannevirke shearer Morgan Te Ture was sent to prison for two years and three months after police found two grow rooms containing 301 cannabis plants at his Adelaide Rd home in October 2011.

Just days earlier, in one of their biggest drug hauls, Dannevirke police found 864 plants growing in a garage in Otope Rd. The plants had an estimated street value of between $500,000 and $2.5million. A 28-year-old farmhand, Aaron Hockley, also know as Waddilove, appeared in the Palmerston North District Court in relation to those charges.

And late last year $100,000 worth of cannabis was discovered after police raided two Dannevirke properties in unrelated searches.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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