Cops set sights on pot and P
Franklin cannabis growers and ‘P’ producers, be warned.
Police have you in their sights and are targeting offenders in concentrated operations aimed at curbing illegal drug production and use in the district.
Last week detectives made a dent in local marijuana cultivation through Operation Kristi.
The sting was an Auckland and Counties Manukau investigation, which saw up to 400 cannabis plants recovered and destroyed in Franklin alone.
For three days, police used an Air Force chopper to locate cannabis crops throughout greater Auckland.
Detective Gareth Brown of the Pukekohe CIB said in total Kristi discovered between 1500 and 1800 cannabis plants, ranging from small seedlings to fully grown, in excess of one metre high.
Mr Brown said the established plants can have a street value of up to $3000.
After the chopper’s discovery of the crops, police ground crews were deployed and as a result seven people in Franklin were arrested for cultivation.
Mr Brown said the operation was a success in removing drugs from the Franklin community.
He said because methamphetamine has gained such momentum as a national problem, marijuana offenders can been seen to ‘‘ slip under the radar’’.
However Operation Kristi proves that all drug production is a target for police, whether it be P or pot.
Kristi found that Franklin’s most prolific cannabis crops were in the Awhitu area.
But police are aware of areas at Port Waikato used to grow plants, however they believe these were harvested before the chopper could detect them.
Last week’s busts follow the success of a two-month organised crime investigation targeting production and selling of methamphetamine ‘P’ in South Auckland and Franklin.
Operation Sutomo saw nine people arrested, all of them either patched Pukekohe Black Power members or associates of the gang.
Seven search warrants, five in Franklin, uncovered $ 75,000 worth of methamphetamine ‘P’, $100,000 cash, firearms, cannabis and stolen laptops and vehicles.
Eight people have been charged with conspiracy to supply methamphetamine and one faces a charge of selling methamphetamine. They were due to reappear in Pukekohe District Court yesterday.
Counties Manukau Detective Inspector John Tims said Operation Sutomo ‘‘will have a serious impact on the (local) drug trade’’.
Pukekohe police asked the public to assist them in their fight against drugs.
Detective Brown urged anyone who knows of the manufacturing, growth, or selling of drugs to call staff at the Pukekohe police station. They can be reached on 237 1700.