Police from the VIPER Taskforce yesterday arrested a man in Sunbury as part of an investigation into an Albanian organised crime syndicate allegedly involved in the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis.
A 42-year-old Essendon man, who is also an Italian national, was arrested at a property on Reservoir Road in Sunbury yesterday afternoon with assistance from the Air Wing.
A warrant was subsequently executed at the address, with police seizing a quantity of cannabis, a small quantity of cash and cannabis cultivation equipment, including transformers and power base stations.
The man was interviewed by police and has subsequently been charged with possess cannabis and possess proceeds of crime.
He was bailed to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 8 January, 2024.
Yesterday’s activity follows the arrest of two people last week after a series of warrants were executed on 22 August at properties in Taylors Hill, Greenvale, Taylors Lakes, Deer Park and Rockbank.
A 47-year-old Taylors Hill man, who is also an Albanian national, was charged with cultivate and traffick large commercial quantity of cannabis and possess proceeds of crime.
He was remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 8 January, 2024.
A 44-year-old Deer Park woman, who is also a Colombian national, was charged with cultivate and traffick a commercial quantity of cannabis.
She was bailed to front Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 8 January, 2024.
Police seized approximately $200,000 cash from the Taylors Hill address, over 260 cannabis plants from the Taylors Lakes property, over 185 cannabis plants from the Deer Park address, almost 200 plants from the Rockbank property and 100 plants from Greenvale.
The concrete floor of a garage at the Taylors Hill address had been drilled through, allowing for an electricity cable to be connected to an electricity substation under the property’s fence.
A further property in Keilor East was raided on 23 August with an additional 180 cannabis plants seized.
The investigation commenced in June of this year when police received a tip off regarding suspicious behaviour at one of the addresses.
In total, in excess of a tonne of cannabis with a street value of approximately $5 million has been seized during this operation.
The investigation remains ongoing.