An $82m dope crop is prepared for destruction at Farleigh sugar mill. The illegal crop, found at a Mt Pelion property, was Queensland’s biggest cannabis haul of 2011 and had to be destroyed at the mill due to a fire ban.
An $82m dope crop is prepared for destruction at Farleigh sugar mill. The illegal crop, found at a Mt Pelion property, was Queensland’s biggest cannabis haul of 2011 and had to be destroyed at the mill due to a fire ban. CONTRIBUTED

Cannabis worth $82m up in smoke

WHAT do you do with a haul of more than 33,000 cannabis plants worth in excess of $82 million?

If there is a total fire ban you truck it to a nearby sugar mill and burn it.

The $82 million stash - uncovered two weeks ago at a Mt Pelion property - was Queensland's biggest cannabis haul of 2011 and these pictures show it being disposed of at Farleigh mill.

Police from a Brisbane drug squad, dressed in camouflage, and Farleigh mill workers can be seen getting the crop ready for the mill's furnace.

The cannabis plants were trucked to the mill on Friday, October 7, the same afternoon police announced they had seized the plants over a three-day period.

While the evidence has been disposed of, police are yet to charge anybody in relation to the massive cannabis find.

Farleigh mill factory manager Terry Doolan said the mill was surprised to receive a call from police seeking its assistance to dispose of the cannabis haul.

"It was out of the blue," he said.

"We burnt the whole lot.

"It doesn't happen very often at all and we probably won't do it (burn cannabis at the mill) for the next few years.

"It was only because there was a total fire ban on (at the time)."

Mr Doolan said the cannabis was shredded and put straight into the mill's furnace.

He didn't talk too much about the smell of the burning cannabis but said it was "very strong".

The Daily Mercury yesterday contacted Queensland Police about the cannabis burn-off at Farleigh mill; however a spokesman said police generally didn't comment about how the force disposed of drugs or other evidence.

The Queensland Police spokesman also said nobody had been charged in relation to the Mt Pelion cannabis haul.At the time, police said the property where the crop was discovered was uninhabited.

Officers from the State Drug Investigation Unit, assisted by Mackay police, located two sites being used for the production of 33,000 cannabis plants ranging from small seedlings to mature plants 1.8 - 2.4 metres high.

The drugs were uncovered during Operation Juliet Unearth which began in August this year and focused on cannabis production in the Mt Pelion area.


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