Central District Police recovered more than 6,000 cannabis plants as part of Operation Jasmin — the annual crime and cannabis recovery that prevents millions of dollars worth of social harm in our communities.
4,175 plants were recovered from the aerial phase in Central District with the remaining 2,474 plants coming from search warrants. An estimated $20 million dollars has been saved in social harm costs from the Central operation.
The operation starts with an intelligence-gathering phase and is followed by an aerial recovery phase using NZ Air Force Iroquois and NH90 helicopters to winch police officers into cannabis plots.
Senior Constable Dave Kirk, Central District Operation Coordinator says: "Year on year we will continue to disrupt growers and dealers and while over the past few years we have seen a gradual decrease in the number of plants recovered in the District, we hope this is a sign that people are thinking twice before they engage in criminal activity and risk everything."
Central District was also the last district to use the Iroquois helicopter as part of the aerial phase and Senior Constable Kirk recovered the last cannabis plants ever to be brought on board the aircraft.
"We have been using the Iroquois for about 20 years as part of the operation and it has been worth its weight in gold. While we will definitely miss it we look forward to using the NH90 as part of future operations."
Cannabis grows were located in 94 plots and 163 offenders were arrested resulting in 214 charges ranging from cultivation and supply of cannabis and other illicit drug charges.
Also located and recovered during the search warrants was 156 kilograms of dried cannabis, 17 firearms, 52 ecstasy tablets, 16 LSD tabs, and 52 grams of methamphetamine.
"The public play an important role in the operation's success by providing information on drug manufacture and dealing. By working together we can successfully prevent organised crime networks operating in our communities and hold those responsible to account for their illicit and harmful actions."
If you have information about drug cultivation, manufacture or supply rings please contact your local Police Station. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Social harm is the estimated financial cost of the cannabis trade on health, education, employment, the benefits system and so on.
Note to media: It is not possible to provide a breakdown for the search warrants or the arrests but a total of 59 warrants were executed in Central District. Images from the operation are available upon request.
Area results for aerial recovery phase:
Taranaki - 1,092
Ruapehu - 976
Whanganui - 1,148
Manawatü (incorporates the Tararua and Horowhenua) - 959