POLICE BUST: $6 million drug farm hidden in Southern Downs
MORE than 1800 mature marijuana plants worth over $6 million have been found in a massive take-down of a sophisticated drug operation that was hidden on a property at Old Talgai.
Six people have been remanded in custody and one person has been released on bail after a suite of arrests following a protracted police investigation that involved Warwick detectives, a state drug squad and the Australian Border Force.
Three Vietnamese nationals who have allegedly overstayed their Australian visas were arrested on Tuesday after police executed a warrant on a Talgai property.
Warwick CIB boss Darren Tamblyn said detectives found an "extremely sophisticated and professional" marijuana farm at the site.
"You can imagine a greenhouse, 2500 plants all in pots with a sophisticated watering and fertilising system," he said.
In total, 140kg of packaged cannabis buds, 340 harvested cannabis plants, and more than 1800 mature cannabis plants were found, the majority growing in a greenhouse.
Detective sergeant Tamblyn said the drugs were high quality and intended for distribution.
"It was located in kilo and pound packaging," he said.
"They estimated a value of the crops and the dried packaged products to be in excess of $6 million."
Dat Le, Anh Nguyen and Minh Hung Nguyen appeared in Warwick Magistrates court on Tuesday to face a spate of drug-related offences, including producing dangerous drugs.
They were all remanded in custody.
The next day, police arrested four more people, who attempted to visit the Old Talgai farm while police were conducting on-site investigations.
Lien Thi Tran, Van Thanh Tran and Hoang Viet Vu from Inala were charged each with producing and possessing dangerous drugs and other drugs-related charges.
New South Wales man Duc Canh Phi was also charged with supplying dangerous drugs and possession of property in connection with drug offence.
Only Mr Phi was granted bail.
Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan said the offences were believed to be linked to $1.5 million worth of marijuana that was found during police patrols at Minden on March 11.
Detective sergeant Tamblyn said it was a significant breakthrough in operation Papa Cider, which commenced last year.
"It was certainly a protracted and well thought-out joint investigation. The arresting officers were all from Warwick CIB," he said.
The accused are due to appear in the Warwick Magistrates Court on May 31.
Warwick Daily News contacted the Australian Border Force but had not received a response at the time of publication.