Multi-million dollar cannabis operation dismantled
Police have dismantled a drug syndicate supplying cannabis across Sydney's south-west after seizing almost $10 million worth of the drug from 19 homes.
An extensive hydroponic set up of more than 600 plants lining rooms of a two-storey home - turned drug den - on Highclere Ave in Punchbowl was uncovered, where a 'happy birthday' banner hung in the kitchen.
Young children were allegedly exposed to the elaborate operation, including 91 plants hidden underneath a Mt Pritchard home.
"This kind of irresponsible behaviour is simply unacceptable, and police will continue to target those that put the community - including children - in harm's way," NSW Police Detective Superintendent Craig Middleton said.
Superintendent Middleton said hydroponic houses could put surrounding neighbours in danger of electrocution or fires.
"As we move into the middle of winter the potential for fires within the home increases, as more people use heating and cooking equipment," Superintendent Middleton said.
"Similarly, hydro houses rely on increased electricity use which have in some cases can lead to fire or electrocution."
Cabramatta West man Son Thanh Phan, 57, appeared in Liverpool court today charged with possessing a prohibited drug, use/consume/waste electricity without authority and enhanced indoor cultivation.
Police will allege in court Phan was involved in the cultivation of cannabis and two children - aged six and 15 - were exposed to the hydroponic setup.
Police will allege in court Mt Pritchard man Jovica Maljkovic, 38, exposed five children to a hydroponic setup of 91 cannabis plants underneath a home.
He appeared in Liverpool Court today charged with not keeping a firearm safely, enhanced indoor cultivation, and use/consume/waste electricity without authority.
Police will allege in court Huu Phuoc Nguyen, 48, attempted to flee police as they executed a search warrant on Tuesday.
He appeared in Burwood Local Court charged with growing 112 cannabis plants.
And Villawood man Duc Lieu Vi, 54, appeared in Fairfield Local Court today after police allegedly located 45 cannabis plants, 56 grams of cannabis head and $5560 cash at his home.
He was charged with enhancing the indoor cultivation of a plant for commercial purposes, possessing a prohibited drug, use/consume/waste electricity without authority and recklessly deal with proceeds of crime.
They are all due to reappear in court later this year.
Originally published as Multi-million dollar Sydney cannabis operation dismantled