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Gangs use students to babysit WA cannabis

A man from Sydney has been charged after a massive cannabis operation was discovered in Perth. Half a tonne of cannabis has been seized and 41 people arrested during eight months of raids on homes allegedly rented by gangs across Perth. Since July 1, detectives have seized about $250,000 in cash and nearly 9000 cannabis plants from 77 privately rented properties converted to house the illicit drug. Police revealed on Monday a Sydney man was accused of cultivating more than 1000 cannabis plants in an elaborate greenhouse set-up in Perth. The plants, plus about 200kg of cannabis with a potential street value of almost $2.5 million, and more than $10,500 in cash were uncovered during a search of a semi-rural property on March 13 in Oldbury. A 26-year-old Cabramatta man appeared in Armadale Magistrates Court on March 14 on drugs charges and was remanded in custody until April 10. Police say South-East Asian gangs have been hiring students on visas or in Australia illegally to babysit their crop, which is then used to fund other criminal activity including meth trafficking. WA Assistant Commissioner Gary Budge says homes converted to cannabis farms are highly dangerous as they bypass electricity supply straight to the grid, risking fire. Renters should be wary of leasing their homes to people paying cash up front, Mr Budge said. "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is," he told reporters. Originally published here:

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