Tuesday, 18 August 2009 - 9:44am |

Millions saved by cannabis recovery

2 min read

News article photos, audio and videos (3 items)

It has been estimated that a saving of nearly $30m in social harm costs has been made as a result of this year's cannabis recovery programme in Central District - Operation Kristy.

A significant dent has been put in the trade and 257 people including gang members and prolific offenders have been charged, and in many cases, jailed.

Operations are held across the country every year with a spotting phase gathering intelligence on where the cannabis crops are being grown and who is behind the growing. This is followed by a recovery and arrest phase during which officers are winched down from an Air Force Iroquois and the plants are yanked from the ground.

In Central District, Ruapehu, Wanganui and Taranaki all produced good recovery results; not unexpected given the topography of those areas which lend themselves to prolific growing.

There were also good results this year in the Manawatu, particularly the coastal areas from Bulls to Levin and the area of Pohangina. It was the Tararua that had the biggest crop of the year with 852 plants seized in one plot.

In addition to the 7,952 plants recovered from the aerial operation, a further 3,095 were recovered as a result of intelligence gathering and the execution of search warrants. The total seizure this year was 11,047.

While the number of plants seized in total was down by 1,181 on last year, the number of offenders arrested rose.

Central District spokesperson, Constable Dave Kirk said: "It is well known and well publicised that we carry out this operation each year but some still seem to think they can operate under the radar. This year's seizure demonstrates yet again that they are sadly mistaken.

"The aim is to track plots back to the growers and eradicate as many plants as possible. The bottom line is that we don't want drugs on the streets. Even if we can't get the offender, pulling the plants will have a significant impact.

"The social harm that the cannabis trade creates is huge. Health, education, employment, the benefits system are all affected by the influences of drugs on people's lives. It is estimated that this year's seizure in Central District alone has saved the country $29,746,170 in social harm costs.

"That sort of cost to society cannot be underestimated and we will continue to do everything in our power to disrupt the trade and bring those responsible to account."

Area results for aerial recovery phase:
Ruapehu - 1504 plants
Wanganui - 2024 plants
New Plymouth - 1826 plants
Manawatu/Horowhenua/Tararua - 1848 plants

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.

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