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Christmas comes early in police sting

The drug bust has prevented around $945,000 worth of marijuana from hitting the streets. Photo / APN
The drug bust has prevented around $945,000 worth of marijuana from hitting the streets. Photo / APN

Eastern Waikato Police have delivered a significant Christmas present to the Waihi community after discovering a major cannabis growing operation and a large scale relieving ring.

Sergeant Dave Litton of the Waihi Police said officers were establishing what they had uncovered following the discovery of an 'Aladdin's cave' of stolen goods over the past few days.

"On Thursday, assisted by members of the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad, our staff went to an address where we recovered over 60 odd items of property.

"Among items recovered were a BMW car, a rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition, televisions, i-Pods, cell phones and jewellery that had been taken from homes in the Waihi and Katikati areas over recent months."

Mr Litton said the task for investigators now was to try and marry up recovered items with their rightful owners and officers would be using details, such as those recorded on Operation SNAP and provided to Police by the victims, to do just that.

Describing the haul as a veritable treasure trove Mr Litton said it appeared the occupants of the property had been operating a receiving operation, praying on fellow residents in the local community.

"Then on Friday we searched a rural property on the outskirts of Waihi where about 630 cannabis plants and eight trays of seedlings were found in an indoor growing operation under the house.

"It's very hard to put an accurate figure on the value of the haul without careful examination of all the plants. None of them had reached full maturity and the tallest was about 1.5m tall but if they had been allowed to become fully grown and you worked on a conservative estimated yield of half a pound per plant (with a potential value of $1500), you're looking at an again, potential yield, worth $945,000."

Mr Litton said two men have been arrested in relation to the separate discoveries with further arrests likely.

"These discoveries, each in their own way should bring a fair amount of Christmas cheer to our local community.

"Each of these finds means a significant disruption to the criminal enterprises involved and will go a long way in preventing further victims, be those people who's homes are broken into by thieves wanting to buy drugs or the parents and families of loved ones trapped in a cycle of illicit drug use."

Mr Litton said over the Christmas holiday period Police would be remaining vigilant and asked that the public do so to as they seek to stamp out criminal activity.

"If you know of suspicious activity going on contact Police or if you're not confident talking to Police directly you can leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."

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