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On Friday, 27 November Police initiated Operation West which involved several western-based frontline staff from the Southern District.
A road policing checkpoint was set up on SH94 near Lumsden which focused on checking for drink driving, lack of seatbelts and mobile phone use.
Police say the operation uncovered a more significant crime that was taking place ‘thanks to a familiar smell’ — Staff at the Checkpoint stopped a car which drove from Gore and was heading to Te Anau.
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Police staff caught a strong smell of cannabis and invoked a 2012 Search and Surveillance Act of the vehicle.
Two large chilly bins were found on the rear seat of the vehicle, they both contained 1kg of cannabis head and over $500 in cash.
The man, who was the driver of the vehicle, aged 29 from Te Anau had admitted he just purchased the cannabis in Gore.
Te Anau staff continued further inquiries at the 29-year-old’s home address in Te Anau. The staff found over $2,000 in cash, cannabis and drug dealing equipment.
Sergeant in Charge of Te Anau Police, Tod Hollebon was glad, “Some excellent teamwork carried out by Southland staff over the weekend with a borderless approach to policing.”
“This has resulted in Police taking a substantial amount of cannabis off the street, and uncovering a significant growing operation,” he said.
A further investigation into the crime was carried out, revealing a 45-year-old man from Gore, was responsible for selling the drugs.
Police staff searched a Gore property where they found 3kg of cannabis, many plants, and $10,000 in cash from that address.
“I am proud of our local police working together across the borders in Riversdale, Mataura, Gore and Invercargill, which has resulted in two arrests so far,” says Sergeant Hollebon.
Police arrested the 45-year-old from Gore. He is due to appear in Gore’s District Court.
The 29-year-old man from Te Anau who was also arrested by Police will appear in the Invercargill District Court at a later date.
The two will appear on drug charges, but as Police investigate further, other charges may be laid.