TWO huge hauls of cannabis, worth more than $1 million, have been seized in separate raids this week in the Ballarat region.
Sophisticated hydroponic growing facilities were found in houses at Learmonth and Alfredton, with hundreds of mature plants growing in each.
Police raided the Learmonth property on Sunday night, while the Alfredton home was busted on Tuesday night.
A man was charged on Sunday night, with trafficking a commercial quantity of cannabis, after more than 280 plants were discovered at the Learmonth address.
A woman was arrested following the Alfredton raid, where about 200 plants were discovered, but she has yet to be charged.
Police said they were still trying to track down a man seen leaving the Leicester Court, Alfredton house just as police arrived on Tuesday night.
Ballarat police operations support Inspector Greg Payne said police were still trying to determine if the hydroponic facilities were linked.
Inspector Payne said tip-offs from the public and good police work resulted in two of the most significant drug busts in Ballarat in recent time.
“They were very mature plants and (the houses) contained very elaborate set-ups,” he said.
“It would have taken quite a long period of time to construct, particularly the lighting, ventilation and watering systems.”
Inspector Payne said both houses were making use of an electricity bypass, meaning the houses could use all the power they wanted without drawing the attention from power companies.
He said the raids, which netted about 500 plants weeks away from harvest, had made a dent in the region’s cannabis supply.
“It is a significant result for us and a significant result for the community – these are two very large crops taken off the market,” Inspector Payne said.
“I think it was a combination of excellent police work by the members at the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit and some information received from members of the community.”
Members of the Ballarat DRU were busy for much of yesterday dismantling the hydroponic facility at the Alfredton house, loading hundreds of lighting shrouds, bulbs, transformers and potted plants into a rental truck.
Inspector Payne said anyone with information on grow-houses in Ballarat could call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.