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Massive Cash Seizure And 700 Cannabis Plants Confiscated In Melbourne Raids

Officers from the Victoria Police’s VIPER Taskforce have dismantled a sophisticated Albanian crime syndicate, charging two individuals in Melbourne’s north-west.

Police executed five warrants at residences in Taylors Hill, Greenvale, Taylors Lakes, Deer Park, and Rockbank on Tuesday.

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During the operation, police seized around $200,000 in cash from the Taylors Hill address, and a total of over 700 cannabis plants were seized from other properties. 

A 47-year-old Taylors Hill man, believed to be the ringleader of the syndicate, has been charged with cultivating and trafficking a large commercial quantity of cannabis, along with possessing proceeds of crime. 

A 44-year-old Deer Park woman, who was on a student visa, was also arrested.

Police allege she was the “crop sitter” for the syndicate, and was charged with cultivating and trafficking a commercial quantity of cannabis. 

She has been bailed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 8 Jan, 2024.

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The investigation, launched in June, began with a tip-off about suspicious activities at one of the addresses. 

Police said this operation has led to the seizure of over a tonne of cannabis valued at approximately $5 million.

Detective Acting Inspector Leigh Howse from the VIPER Taskforce said the police will continue to confront organised crime head on.

“These alleged grow houses were sophisticated set ups, and as a result of this operation, a tonne of illicit cannabis is now on a one-way ticket to being destroyed,” Inspector Howse said.

“Community tip-offs play a crucial role in any investigation – if you observe or hear any suspicious behaviour such as covering or blacking out windows, strong plant smells and unusual vehicle or pedestrian movement, please call police.” 

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