Police find dope gear
A raid on a Plimmerton property has resulted in one arrest and the seizure of hydroponic equipment police believe was used to grow cannabis up to the value of $810,000.
Acting Senior Sergeant Steve Dunn said police raided a unit in an industrial area of Plimmerton last Wednesday morning after receiving a tipoff from the public.
He said it was difficult to know how much cannabis could have been grown with the equipment, but there were more than 20 lamps, which could light two to 10 plants each. Plants could yield six to nine ounces of cannabis, which could sell for $350 to $450 an ounce.
The hydroponic equipment alone was likely to be worth at least $20,000, Mr Dunn said.
The size of the setup suggested an operation that supplied markets in Porirua and the Kapiti Coast.
‘‘This was equipment that could have been used for a really significant commercial grow.
‘‘It shows how much money is being made through cannabis cultivation, because the setup costs are really quite high – this stuff was really quite technically advanced.
‘‘This [seizure] would have a significant impact on whoever was involved in it.’’
A 24-year-old Porirua man has been charged with possessing articles and equipment for the cultivation of cannabis. He was to appear today in Porirua District Court.
No-one else was arrested in the raid, and no drugs or cash were found, although inquiries were continuing, Mr Dunn said. Police were not aware of any gang connections to the operation.
The seizure and prevention of further cannabis growing would have had a real social impact on the community, he said.
‘‘There’s more and more medical research that has publicised the link between the prolonged use of cannabis and quite serious mental health problems that have a serious social impact. It’s not this soft, socially acceptable drug that it was in the 60s and 70s; its active ingredients are really quite high due to the cultivation methods.’’