A man (left) was handcuffed and taken into custody. mm241517

Victoria Police assistant commissioner Stephen Fontana said the factory had been set up to grow cannabis. mm301517

HUNDREDS of cannabis plants have been seized at a factory in Archies Creek.
Drug Taskforce personnel raided a former timber products factory on Archies Creek Road at 12.20pm on Friday, April 7.
Police first gathered in unmarked vehicles near the top of the intersection of Archies Creek Road and Loch-Wonthaggi Road.
Without sirens, police then drove to the property, exited their vehicles and cut the lock on the gates. Police raided the factory, handcuffing two men.
Taken into custody were a 52 year-old Noble Park man and a 57 year-old Sunshine North man.
Onlookers were stunned, with many drivers slowing down to take a look at why there were so many police in the usually quiet town.
At around 1.45pm, AusNet workers cut a power line connected to the factory.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana arrived and told the ‘Sentinel-Times’ police had executed a warrant on an alleged “cannabis grow house”.
“There’s probably over 500 plants being grown in different rooms. It’s been really elaborately set up and a lot of money has been invested in terms of the equipment used to grow the plants.
“It could be a couple of hundred thousand dollars or more just to set up the lighting equipment.”
He said the alleged cannabis plants were at various stages of growth, from seedlings to fully mature.
“We can see that they had some product in there the other night that’s no longer there and there are a lot of stems that are ready to go to the tip that they’ve harvested.
“Apart from just pulling these places apart and charging them, we’re also looking at the wealth they’ve made in it and we’re seizing their assets and we’ll make an application on conviction, and if convicted, forfeiture of those assets to the state.”
Assistant Commissioner Fontana said police have been targeting syndicates that are setting up “grow houses”.
“We do a lot of different types of operations on illicit drugs but we’ve got a concerted operation running at the moment on syndicates involved in the production of cannabis.
“Some of these grow houses are set up in residential addresses in metropolitan suburbs of Melbourne, but we’re also finding some of them have been moving out into regional areas and this is a very big set-up here,” he said.
Two men were charged with cultivating a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant. They will appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 13.