Five people have been charged and more than 25kg of cannabis has been seized in an ongoing investigation targeting Vietnamese criminal networks involved in Western Australian grow houses.
Perth detectives stopped a vehicle in Rockingham last Friday and allegedly found seven sealed drums containing 50 bags filled with cannabis head material.
Properties were then searched in Rockingham, Secret Harbour and Queens Park, with officers allegedly seizing 56 cannabis plants, hydroponic equipment, cannabis and cash.
Detectives then travelled to Geraldton, in the state’s Mid West region, and searched seven other properties, allegedly uncovering two established cannabis grow houses with a total of 265 plants.
Five people, aged between 23 and 61, have been charged with offences including cultivating a prohibited plant with intent to sell or supply.
The investigation is continuing, including examining the link between members of this network and the seizure of cannabis plants in Red Gully in October last year.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ray Horne said criminals were targeting residential rental properties, leaving behind significant damage for landlords.
“In many cases, property owners who self-advertise their properties online are targeted, usually by offenders who pose as a family group and who request that inspections not be undertaken,” he said.
Det Sen Sgt Horne said the destruction caused to properties to establish a cannabis grow house was extensive and often included illegal modifications to the power supply, which could be life-threatening.
“In many cases, when police have spoken to neighbours, there have been signs of suspicious behaviour – observations including people coming and going at all times of the day and night for short periods of time, or people attending the property not wanting to engage with neighbours or be seen and identified,” he said.