Kilsyth factory drug bust

Operation Crawl targeted an alleged organised crime syndicate responsible for cultivating large-scale cannabis crops inside factories across Melbourne.

By Mikayla van Loon

Factories, including one in Kilsyth, have been raided by police as part of a major crime bust.

Hume Crime Investigation Unit detectives have arrested 12 people and seized around 7,000 cannabis plants as part of a 10-month long investigation known as Operation Crawl.

The cannabis plants weighed more than five tonnes and were allegedly being cultivated across 11 factory style set ups, with their street value estimated to be worth up to $12 million.

The factories were located right across the state, including Campbellfield, Braeside, Kilsyth, Carrum Downs, Seaford, Ravenhall, Truganina and Derrimut.

Police also suspect the factories were set up to steal electricity from the grid, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of electricity theft believed to be disrupted.

Hume CIU Detective Sergeant Joseph Hartwig said this was a significant operation which took dedication from Hume’s Crime Investigation Unit.

“Police will be alleging those arrested are a part of a significant organised crime syndicate, seeking to profit off the most vulnerable in our community,” he said.

“We know the flow on effect of illicit drugs causes devastation throughout the community – with drug-fuelled driving, family violence and assaults.”

A further two arrests which happened on Monday 23 August brought the total arrest tally to 12 in the 10 month period.

Those arrests included a 31-year-old Sunshine North man and a 24-year-old St Albans man who are expected to be charged with commercial scale cultivation of a narcotic plant.