[IMGL=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1242&pictureid=9921"][/IMGL]Victorian police have carried out the biggest series of drug raids in the state's history this morning.
More than forty people have been arrested, and more than 67 properties were raided across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
The operation, codenamed Entity, is an international investigation targeting the supply of "high potency" cannabis and other drugs, which has been running for two years.
More than 7,000 cannabis plans were also seized in the raids.
Police estimate about $400 million has passed though the alleged syndicate.
Several million dollars worth of real estate is expected to be seized.
It is alleged the cannabis was grown on so called hydroponic farms and sold locally to fund the importation of heroin from Vietnam.
More than 630 police officers were involved in the dawn raids this morning, including Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers, Immigration officials and Customs officers.
The raids are part of a two-year investigation targeting alleged organised crime syndicates involved in producing cannabis.
Victoria's Deputy Commissioner, Sir Ken Jones, says over 100 properties will have been raided by the end of the week.
The greatest scourge visited on our community is the vile scourge of illicit drugs, he said.
Lives and neighbourhoods are destroyed while those who profit from this trade like to think that their profit goes unnoticed.
The investigation has links to New Zealand, South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Raids were also carried out in Western Australia and New Zealand.
It is believed the main targets are members of the Vietnamese community.
'We will always follow the money'
Sir Ken says the operation has targeted the alleged ringleaders of the operation, as well as those who help them hide their assets.
We will always follow the money and today we will begin a process of bringing to book the people behind the syndicates who seek to launder drug money, he said.
These syndicates are being dismantled, and the facilitators who have helped to launder the money will be dealt with, and property and cash seized will go to the benefit of the community.
Sir Ken has also revealed the raids were due to take place two weeks ago, but were delayed because police resources were tied up with the visit by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
He has rejected claims the operation was delayed to fall in the days before the Victorian state election.
It's absolute nonsense. We will trigger our operations when we get the best information. Either side of the election, it doesn't matter to us, he said.
The Government is not aware of this operation and shouldn't be, and wouldn't be.
23rd Nov 2010
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