POLICE have discovered a fourth and fifth commercial cannabis growing operation in the local area after executing drugs search warrants in Mine Road, Korumburra in the early hours of yesterday morning.
However while they believe the two Mine Road crops are linked, they are yet to establish any connection with similar, large-scale drug growing ventures discovered in Leongatha and Drouin in the past month.
Here’s where police have hit these multi-million dollar cannabis operations:
• Monday, March 28, 2016: “Huge operation” involving 600 plants at Eccles Way in Leongatha. Two charged – a 50 year old man from Leongatha and a 51 year old man from New South Wales.
• Tuesday, March 29, 2016: Baw Baw CIU detectives seize 380 cannabis plants after discovering a large hydroponic operation at a house in Manallack Lane, Drouin. Believed connected to the Leongatha bust.
• Sunday, April 10, 2016: A botched home invasion in Young Street, Leongatha leads to the discovery of 384 cannabis plants in a commercial operation next door. No charges laid.
• Monday, April 26, 2016: Police discover more than 200 plants at two locations in Korumburra. No charges laid but police have strong leads for their inquiries.
Acting on public information, police from the Bass Coast Crime Tasking Unit arrived at the two Mine Road properties, located at 129 and 112 Mine Road, just opposite Apex Park, at around 6am and gained forcible entry.
There they found no one at home but they did find plenty of cannabis.
“What we found was a commercial cannabis-growing operation at two local houses,” Detective Senior Constable, Steve Forest said.
“There would be in excess of 100 mature plants at each house,” he said.
“It is apparent that this has been a professional, commercial set-up. There have been extensive renovations inside the houses to accommodate the growing of the plants.”
Det S/C Forest said both houses were fitted out with hydroponic growing arrangements and grow lamps and he believed strongly that the two were linked.
“These two are linked but we don’t think they are connected with the others,” he said.
But he did say information from the public had led to the discovery and he has urged people to continue to keep a look out for unusual circumstances or behaviour.
“There’s a lot people can do to help police by noticing things out of the ordinary and reporting it to Crimestoppers (1800 333 000) or their local police.”
He said police had some firm leads to pursue in relation to the latest drug busts in Korumburra but he rejected claims that itinerate workers had set up the operations.
“No we don’t believe so but if people do have information, by all means get in touch with us, or anonymously with Crimestoppers.”
Neighbours have clearly been alarmed by the events of the past few weeks.
A nearby rtesident posted on Facebook yesterday that she was woken up at 6am to the sound of police banging down the door of a nearby house.
She said the house was sold about seven months ago and it appeared that no one was living there.
“The bloody houses are full of weed crops, unreal,” she said.
Other locals have also been alarmed by their proximity to the commercial drug operation in their neighbourhood.
“It’s terrible. Who knew and right across the road from where the kids play in the park,” was one comment.
Meanwhile Bass Coast Crime Unit police applied to the Korumburra Court last week for approval to destroy 384 plants, weighing in excess of 134kg, from the Young Street, Leongatha bust, which had become an over-powering odour problem at the Wonthaggi Police Station.
Magistrate Charles Tan ordered that the drugs be destroyed.