Police dressed in camouflage and armed with machetes and dogs took 3374 cannabis plants from the Northern Rivers area last week. According to police calculations that's $7.5 million worth of marijuana. (About $2200 per plant.)
Strike Force Hyperion, using the drug squad's Cannabis Team, with assistance from the NSW Police Air Wing, Police Dog Unit, Radio Electronics Unit and officers from Richmond Local Area Command, raided 60 cannabis plots in Kippenduff, Rappville, Clearfield, Busby Flat, Mummulgum, Bulldog, Drake, Nimbin, Blue Knob, Kyogle and Tabulam.
Interestingly, Hyperion was the Greek god of watchfulness and wisdom.
"Illegal cannabis growers choose their growing locations based on the mistaken belief that police won't find them," Det Acting Supt Patton said. "However, as we prove with this program every year, we have the resources to find these crops and put a dent in the cannabis market."
Michael Balderstone from Nimbin's HEMP Embassy has, unsurprisingly, different views.
"We're all glad the rain interrupted them because the bush pot they're targetting is the safest of all the recreational drugs," Michael said. "It will be replaced in the market place by far more dangerous substances. There are so many better ways to spend our public money. Research into the multitude of excellent uses of the cannabis plant is one of them."
Michael believes the War on Drugs, like most wars, is a failure.
"The helicopter raids are a real reminder that we're in a war," he said. "The plantation squad look like mercenaries with their machetes and camouflage gear. They're treating us like terrorists when in fact for most of the year smoking a joint is seen as no big deal on the North Coast."
Police harvest local crops in recent raids in the Northern Rivers.
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