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.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Mary and Molly Byrne are urging others to support National Bandanna Day today.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
The annual Deniliquin Garage and Town Sale event is being held tomorrow, and more than 16 homes are registered for the bargain day.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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