A sophisticated hydroponic cannabis system was discovered by police at the Victoria Hotel last week.MONIQUE FREER September 3, 2014 3:55am
A sophisticated hydroponic cannabis system that is suspected to be part of a Melbourne-based drug syndicate was uncovered by police at the Victoria Hotel last Tuesday.
Electrical items, light shades, growing containers and remnants of the cultivation were found in 21 rooms of the Carrier St building. About 100 stripped and harvested cannabis plants were also found, the estimated value of which would have been $400
Responding to a report of damage to the hotel, Benalla police discovered the sophisticated system and members of the Crime Investigation Unit executed a search warrant.
Benalla Police CIU Detective Acting Sergeant Simon Hunter said the level of sophistication of the hydroponic system indicated that it was part of a bigger drug ring.
‘‘The way that it was set up indicates that it was part of an organised syndicate, most likely from Melbourne,’’ he said.
‘‘The drugs definitely weren’t sold in Benalla, they would have been shipped up and taken to Melbourne.’’
‘‘This sort of stuff happens all the time in Melbourne, they’ll have 10 houses on the go,’’ he said.
‘‘There was one in Mansfield last year that was similar and of a similar size.
‘‘Whether it’s the same people or not I couldn’t say but the same sort of techniques.’’
Sgt Hunter said it appeared the premises were used for cannabis cultivation between February and August this year.
‘‘The set up would have required extensive preparation and planning and it is believed the offenders were there for some time,’’ he said.
The premises were leased from the owner of the building to some tenants through a real estate agency from Melbourne in January this year.
Investigations are now taking place to identify the tenants, who are suspected to have used false names and documents to secure the lease of the property.
‘‘We’ve taken witness statements in relation to it, and appropriate inquiries are being made as to the identity of the tenants,’’ Sgt Hunter said.
‘‘Police are appealing for persons who may have witnessed anything that may be related to the cultivation of cannabis at the hotel.’’
Victoria Police forensic investigators spent last Wednesday at the hotel with members of Benalla Police and Benalla Crime Investigation Unit.
Members from Ausnet Services also attended the scene to rectify illegal electrical work installed.
Shepparton Tri Club has partnered with the annual Challenge Shepparton and organisers of the event are now putting out the call for 350 volunteers.
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
MORE than 130 camp oven enthusiasts turned up to the Torrumbarry Hotel for its annual camp oven cook off.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
About 7600 residents served by Goulburn Valley Water are affected by a boil-water advisory.
Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
The second Koonoomoo Pickers and Packers Charity Ball came to town on the weekend, and was bigger and better than ever.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The second annual National Herd Development Victorian Winter Fair was in action at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre last Wednesday and Thursday.
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