POLICE have seized close to $1 million worth of cannabis plants after using a helicopter to search the Otways.
Detective Peter Griffiths of Colac Criminal Investigation Unit said police resumed the operation this week using a Melbourne-based police helicopter to scour the Otways for cannabis plantations.
Det Griffiths said this week’s three-day operation followed on from a seizure of “hundreds” of cannabis plants totalling a street value close to $1 million.
“We had quite a substantial find in the hundreds,” he said.
“These plants probably don’t yield as much as hydroponic ones, they might be worth $2500 to $3000 fully-matured.
“So you’re looking at close to a million dollars,” he said after revealing details of the haul yesterday.
Det Griffiths said investigators were yet to charge anyone after February’s haul and were waiting for forensic evidence.
He said police this week seized “a reasonable amount” of cannabis plants which the air wing team spotted near Apollo Bay.
Det Griffiths said police had charged a man in his 30s who would face court on drug-related charges. “It was certainly a reasonable amount, not enough to lay a charge of trafficking, but it was fairly obvious they were there for his own personal use,” he said.
Det Griffiths said the fly-over operation had worked well, with ground crews responding and seizing the cannabis plants.
“Having the support from the air wing in Melbourne, you really can’t put a price on it,” he said.
Det Griffiths said police would use the service again when the opportunity arose.
He said police also used the helicopter to look for arsonists in the Otways on Wednesday, and to search for a missing woman in Colac at the weekend who has since shown up.