Police say they've shutdown a ‘Vietnamese crime syndicate’
POLICE allege the two men, aged 26 and 31, who were arrested during a massive $3 million cannabis bust north of Coffs Harbour are part of an organised Vietnamese crime syndicate.
Duy Truong Tran and Minh Do were arrested by detectives from the Drugs and Firearms Squad at an 11-acre Korora property yesterday morning, where police said the men had allegedly been harvesting the cannabis plants growing inside six separate 'hot houses' or igloos.
Investigators seized almost 1030 cannabis plants and about 50kg of cannabis head from the property.
Speaking to the media today, Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Michael Cook, said one of the men has also been questioned in relation to two previous hydroponic cannabis plantations found in the Sydney metropolitan area.
"We will allege physical evidence linking him to those crime scenes were obtained. He has been questioned and will be charged in relation to those matters," Supt Cook said.
The Drugs and Firearms Squad had been contacted by Coffs/Clarence police last month after receiving information from a member of the public about 'suspicious' activity they witnessed around the igloos on the property.
Supt. Cook said police believe organised crime groups have recently been looking at setting up these 'sophisticated' greenhouses in rural areas, which would come at lesser cost than setting up cannabis crops in metro areas.
He said police normally seize about 250-300 plants in a metropolitan set-up.
"(The igloos) come in kit form - they're fairly easy to establish," he said.
The two men have appeared in the Coffs Harbour Local Court today and were both refused bail.
Duy Truong Tran will appear via audio visual link at Coffs Harbour Local Court on November 22, on two charges of cultivate prohibited plant greater than or equal to commercial quantity, supply prohibited drug greater than or equal to commercial quantity, cultivate prohibited plant greater than or equal to large commercial quantity and enhanced indoor cultivation plant for commercial purpose.
Minh Do will appear via audio visual link at Coffs Harbour Local Court on January 14, on charges of supply prohibited drug greater than or equal to commercial quantity, cultivate prohibited plant greater than or equal to large commercial quantity and enhanced indoor cultivation plant for commercial purpose.