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Nelson gonna get dry.


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Ah fuck, gonna be paying from the nose for shit now.


A seven-day swoop on Nelson's cannabis growers has uncovered 165 plots across the region - some believed to be large-scale commercial operations.


The bust, code-named Operation Kristy, ended yesterday and resulted in police cutting down more than 5700 cannabis plants in the Nelson Bays policing area.


They recovered 15 firearms and $10,000 of stolen property, and at least 16 people face charges.


The area is searched annually by police who say the combination of favourable weather conditions and remote terrain make it a popular choice for cannabis growers.


This year plants of almost four metres in height were seized - which police say were unusually high and could be the product of good growing conditions.


The officer in charge of the operation, Sergeant Steve Savage, said police uncovered large plots of cannabis where they believed growers were operating on a significant commercial scale.


"It's on a large scale. This year we've noticed it more than ever."


As of this morning, 16 people would face charges as a result of the operation, but Mr Savage said there were still more people to be prosecuted.


Of those already identified, Mr Savage said three would be charged with possessing cannabis for supply.


Police had this year discovered a significant amount of dried cannabis material at some of those houses subject to searches, adding weight to their belief that the cannabis was being grown on a commercial scale. Mr Savage said at one house police found 4kg of dried cannabis.


While police retained what they needed for evidential purposes, much of the recovered cannabis was burnt.


A burn-off last week led one vigilant Motueka resident to call 111, leading the Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade on a call-out which took them to the secret police operation.


Mr Savage said it was the first time the police had received a visit from firefighters, but they had ensured they had a permit for the burn-off.


In addition to uncovering cannabis, police also found hashish, morphine and BZP as a result of searches connected to the operation. Last April, BZP was reclassified as a class C drug.


A 25-year-old Nelson man will face a charge of possessing the drug, and Mr Savage said the quantity found did not suggest that it had been manufactured locally or was intended for commercial supply.


He would also face a charge of supplying cannabis, cultivating cannabis, manufacturing cannabis resin, possession of cannabis for supply and possession of instruments for the consumption of cannabis.


Nelson Bays Police Area Commander Inspector Brian McGurk said police did not believe BZP was being used on a large scale in Nelson.


Mr Savage said it had been one of the first seizures of BZP in Nelson since the drug was outlawed.


While Golden Bay usually attracted attention for the number of cannabis plots found, Mr Savage said that this year the plants seized had come evenly from around the region.


The recovery of stolen property and firearms showed that cannabis offending was linked to other crimes, Mr Savage said.


The seven-day operation saw teams of between 14 and 17 police officers search properties, carry out land searches, and conduct aerial searches using an Air Force Iroquois helicopter.


Mr McGurk said the scale of the problem of cannabis being grown in the region meant police would continue to target growers through similar operations.



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