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Wed, 22 Dec 2010
Police have closed down a "tinnie'' house, arrested 15 people and searched 77 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crackdown on the drug trade.
The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the armed offenders squad and dog teams taking part. Police said they found four houses where cannabis was being grown, one with video cameras and barricaded doors.
"I believe we have sent a significant message to the criminal fraternity in this area that their continued involvement in illegal activities will not go unchecked,'' Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
"At one address a bank book revealed about $35,000 in an account - which seemed at odds with the person's known lifestyle.''
Police also visited houses where they believed there to be a risk of family violence, and drink driving was also targeted.
Police say they have recovered cannabis and stolen property in an operation busting "tinnie houses'' in Christchurch today.
Senior Sergeant Roy Appley, Northern Sub Area Commander, said searches at 10 separate properties in suburbs mainly between New Brighton and Papanui began at 8am.
It was primarily targeting properties where cannabis was being cultivated and sold, he said.
Several arrests have been made and a quantity of drugs and drug paraphernalia seized.
It involved 55 staff from across the Canterbury district including the Armed Offenders Squad, Tactical Response and drug dogs, as well as general duties staff.
One "tinnie house'' in New Brighton had been busted where cannabis was being sold. The house was equipped with barricaded doors and security cameras.
"At a further four there was cultivation going on at various stages. At another three cannabis was found which has only resulted in possession charges,'' said Appley.
At one address, in the Woolston area, jewellery allegedly taken in an earlier "dishonesty offence'' had been recovered.
It was possible more material would be seized and more arrests made throughout the day, said Appley.
Police expect to search over 50 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crack-down on the drug trade there.
So far several arrests have been made, and drugs and paraphernalia seized and further raids are ongoing.
The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the Armed Offenders Squad and dog teams.
"This is a highly visible operation which is about holding offenders to account for what is normally termed the lower level of drug offending," Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
The offending was disturbing to communities and was often linked to more serious criminal activity, he said.
The Dutch government moved a step closer to barring tourists from Holland's signature marijuana bars with a ruling by the European Court of Justice on Thursday that the ban would not violate European laws.
The Luxembourg-based court said the southern Dutch city of Maastricht was within its rights when it briefly banned non-Dutch residents from its soft drugs dens in 2005.
The policy aimed at curbing problems by so-called drug tourists who flock to the city from nearby Belgium and Germany. The visitors have a reputation for rowdiness, creating havoc on the roads and in the city's narrow medieval lanes.
?While marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly for decades in designated cafes, known as "coffee shops." Police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.
However, the new conservative government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte is planning to make the coffee shops members-only clubs, aiming to shut out tourists.
A former minister who once had responsibility for Britain's narcotics policy said on Thursday all drugs should be decriminalised, arguing that prohibition and the war on narcotics had been a failure.
Bob Ainsworth said he had changed his mind on his issue during his period as a Labour minister at the Home Office because of the futility of the policy of trying to outlaw drugs but had not wanted to speak out while he was still in government.
However, the Conservative-led coalition government has ruled out making any changes to the law.
"The war on drugs does not work. We need to be bold, we need some fresh thinking," Ainsworth, who was also Defence Secretary in the former Labour government, told BBC radio.
Cannabis growers feeling the heat
Hot weather and lack of water in Northland is causing a headache for cannabis growers.
All areas north of the Auckland harbour bridge have been declared a medium-level drought zone.
Northland police organised crime squad boss Detective Sergeant Mike Blowers told the Northern Advocate newspaper growers could be driven indoors so their crops would not been affected by the heat.
Last year's annual police operation netted 48,769 marijuana plants - nearly 19,000 down on 2008 - which police attributed to the drought.
This year could be worse for cannabis growers.
Eight people have been arrested after a large police bust of a Christchurch retailer allegedly selling the banned Class C drug BZP disguised as a legal herbal product.
Police found thousands of capsules believed to contain BZP (benzylpiperazine), as well as stolen property which may have been traded for the supply of the drug, Detective Sergeant Chris Roberts said.
About 50 police officers executed 10 search warrants for a central Christchurch retail shop, three lock-up storage units and several dwellings.
Eight people face various drug possession and supply charges and will appear in the Christchurch District Court over the next few days.
Brotherly love was in question when a man stopped for allegedly selling drugs at a Hamilton shopping mall gave his brother's address leading police to an indoor cannabis growing operation.
The man gave false details after being questioned about his activities at the shopping centre.
Police later realised that the man was wanted for breaching bail conditions and when they went to the Chartwell house found four mature cannabis plants and about 150 seedlings in the property's garage.
A Christchurch man robbed and shot in the head with an air-pistol swiftly went from being on the right side of the law to the wrong, when he was charged with cannabis possession.
The 39-year-old man was shot in the arm and head during a robbery at his Yaldhurst Rd property on Friday evening, Detective Sergeant Ross Tarawhiti told The Press newspaper.
The man was taken to hospital where the pellets were removed.
Miley Cyrus has been filmed smoking a legal high.
Video footage posted on the internet show the 18-year-old singer-and-actress inhaling smoke from a bong - a filtration device for smoking - at a party held at her Los Angeles home on November 28, before bursting into giggles.
According to gossip website TMZ, the smoke comes from a natural herb called salvia, which has psychedelic qualities.
In the clip, Miley takes a hit then says: "OK I'm about to lose it now. I'm having a little bit of a trip right now."