Queenstown police have combined with the New Zealand Air Force to foil a marijuana plantation in dense bush near Frankton.
Drama unfolded on Tuesday afternoon when an Air Force Iroquois winched up a man-sized haul of cannabis plants during a drugs recovery operation near Queenstown’s Marina Heights subdivision.
Local cops are tight-lipped about the mission – but confirm they’ve been targeting pot crops in “Queenstown, Arrowtown and outlying areas” this week.
Detective sergeant Grahme Bartlett says: “A sizeable quantity of cannabis was seized at Marina Heights but there have been no arrests yet.”
He adds: “There are plots being found close to town and in remote areas as well.”
Marina Heights resident Jay Mather says it’s a surprise to see a drug plantation raid so close to home.
“The helicopter lowered a guy down on a wire and 10 minutes later winched him and a bunch of weed back up and flew off.
“I did think they were just practising because that sort of thing doesn’t tend to happen here. I’ve lived on Great Barrier Island where it was a weekly event.”
Another Wakatipu hash haul was completed last night.
Drug cops usually swoop on crops of the C-class drug at this time of the year because that’s when the plants are due to be harvested. In March 2007, Mountain Scene revealed more than $500,000 worth of cannabis was destroyed following police raids in the Wakatipu and Otago-Southland.