A second million-dollar drug bust has landed another Dannevirke man in court, local police having now uncovered nearly 1200 cannabis plants growing in sophisticated operations in just five days.
Yesterday 38-year-old Dannevirke shearer and well known local rugby player Morgan Te Ture appeared in Dannevirke District Court charged with cultivating cannabis after more than 301 plants were found in two especially fitted-out rooms of an Adelaide Rd house.
He was bailed to reappear on November 7.
The 9.20am haul ranged in size from seedlings to plants with an estimated street value up to $1 million and was the second in the town in just five days. Another 863 plants were seized from an Otope Rd garage on Friday.
A 28-year-old farm hand, Aaron Hockly, also known as Waddilove, has made two appearances in Palmerston North District Court in relation to the matter, and will next appear on November 9.
Dannevirke Police Detective Sergeant Graham Perks said the raids, though unrelated, were both the result of information from the public.
"At the end of the day, information the police are told comes in various forms at varying times and this time we just happened to get information on two different growing operations that are completely unrelated."
There were similarities between the operations in terms of sophistication, but the tip-offs were coincidental.
"Indoor growing relies on artificial heat, so in terms of indoor growing there is no real 'time of year'," he said. "It is found at all times of year.
"Outdoor is different as it relies on weather obviously, and we are actually coming into that season, but it was a coincidence that we found these particular indoor-growing operations when we did."
Mr Perks hoped the two raids were sending a strong message to the criminal fraternity.
"Hopefully the message is going out loud and clear that we will not tolerate drugs in our communities and just because your operation is hidden out of sight doesn't mean we won't be knocking on your door."
Te Ture is well known around Dannevirke for his involvement in rugby, with various playing and coaching roles for teams including Dannevirke Sports Club Senior A and the Dannevirke High School First XV.