Annual raids for cannabis begin
Three cannabis operations in Wanaka last week were unrelated, Detective Alan Lee, of Alexandra, says.
A fourth operation was conducted at Kingston.
Two people have been arrested and charged with cultivating cannabis. They are expected to appear in Queenstown District Court.
Lee said the police executed search warrants as a result of normal routine enquiries, including information provided by members of the public.
There had not been any surveillance, unlike Operation Viking last year, which resulted in several Wanaka arrests for various drugs offences.
"There is not a syndicate or a group of people," he said.
"At this time of year, cannabis is grown. It is an annual crop."
A reasonable amount of cannabis plants and dried cannabis was recovered but Lee was unable to confirm the quantities as it had not been measured and weighed. "It is still very wet and green".
Police recovered 20 plants from scrub around Lake Wanaka.
Some plants were recovered near Lake Hawea on March 31, then on April 1 police removed several plants growing about 10m from State Highway 6 near The Neck, between lakes Wanaka and Hawea. More plants were found on a property between Luggate and Tarras.
Lee said people had told the police about the plants at The Neck. "They were not too hard to find. Sometimes plants get a bit bigger than you might expect and you can see them from the side of the road. I have no idea who did that [planted them]."
Lee said the police remained keen to hear from the public or farmers if they saw anything suspicious.
Information can be provided anonymously to the organisation Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Cannabis plants recovered by police at Kingston, near Queenstown. Photo: 630701974