Viper targets organised crime cannabis syndicate

Officers from the VIPER Taskforce have arrested an additional two men, extraditing one from NSW, as part of an investigation into an organised crime syndicate allegedly involved in the trafficking of cannabis.

On Thursday 11 May detectives from the VIPER Taskforce travelled to Byron Bay to extradite a 37-year-old Hampton man.

He had been arrested with the assistance of New South Wales Police and has subsequently been charged with cultivate commercial quantity of cannabis.

He arrived in Melbourne on Friday, 12 May at 6pm, and was remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court 15 May.

Investigators believe the man fled Victoria after VIPER executed a total of nine search warrants on the syndicate last month.

Following the man’s arrest, a further two search warrants were executed on Thursday, 11 May in West Heidelberg and Hampton.

A 35-year-old West Heidelberg man was arrested in West Heidelberg and is expected to be charged on summons with drug offences.

With the assistance of Mill Park Divisional Response Unit, nine warrants were executed on Wednesday, 5 April at residential addresses in Kew, Glen Waverley, Mill Park, Bellfield (3), Heidelberg, Bullengarook and a business address in Doreen.

A further two searches were conducted on Thursday, 6 April at residential properties in Coimadai and Tarneit.

A 30-year-old Kew man, a 37-year-old Coimadi man and a 41-year-old Melton West man were all charged with commercial cultivation of cannabis and remanded in custody.

A 53-year-old Lalor man was charged with possess drug of dependence and possess proceeds of crime.

The quartet will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 30 June.

A 59-year-old Glen Waverley man was also arrested and is likely to be charged on summons with commercial cultivation of cannabis.

Police also seized more than $210,000 cash, an imitation hand grenade and a small quantity of cannabis from a Lalor address, as well as a large quantity of dismantled hydro equipment and what appears to be approximately 300g of cannabis from the Glen Waverley address.

Approximately 30-40 cannabis plants (over 60kg) were seized from one address in Bellfield, with a quantity of plants being seized from another Bellfield property.

Harvested cannabis plants were seized from an address in Tarneit.

The investigation commenced in October 2022 when police located a crop house with more than 30kg of cannabis in Fawkner.

In February this year, a warrant was executed at an additional address in Sunshine North where approximately 41kg of cannabis was seized in addition to commercial packaging equipment.

In total, approximately 135kg of cannabis with a street value of around $700,000 has been seized during this operation.

Anyone with information about organised criminal or illicit drug activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at

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