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572 arrests in annual cannabis crackdown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/05/2016

Police have arrested hundreds of people and seized more than 130,000 cannabis plants in their annual crackdown on the drug.

The six-month operation over the 2015-16 growing season has seen police conduct 607 searches, make 572 arrests, seize nearly 200 guns, while also shutting down a handful of meth labs and collecting large quantities of other drugs.

The airforce provided helicopters and planes during the period to help police spot crops for the air, in what is the second-largest haul in the last nine years.

Police say about $300,000 of stolen property has been seized and another $4 million of assets, including houses and land, are being investigated.

The other drugs destroyed during the operation include a kilogram of meth, 195 tabs of ecstasy, 633 tabs of LSD and 56 tabs of morphine sulfate.

Officers estimate the social damage prevented by the operation is more than $500 million.

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