More than 19,000 cannabis plants - worth almost $67 million - have been seized from a rural property in western NSW, in what police have called Australia's biggest weed bust.
Drug and Firearms Squad detectives, beat officers and police dogs descended on the private property at the Newell Highway in Dandry, near Coonabarabran, on Tuesday morning.
What they found was one of the biggest illegal cannabis farms they had ever seen.
The "extremely isolated and secluded" site included a cleared area of about 90,000 square metres that was "purpose built for cannabis cultivation", Detective Superintendent John Watson said on Wednesday.
"It was on a scale we have not witnessed before. It was the biggest in Australia's history."
The investigation is ongoing but investigators believe there are links to a Vietnamese crime syndicate, AAP understands.
"They were intent on keeping off the grid," Det Supt Watson said.
"They had huge generators. They were manufacturing different mechanical parts and filtration systems locally to try and keep off the grid.
"In terms of scale, this is one of the largest and most commercial cannabis enterprises we've seen - with significant infrastructure, including two large dams, commercial generators, earth-moving equipment, across multiple sites, all of which require attention from workers seven days a week."
The operation is continuing, but police have so far seized 19,082 cannabis plants, with an estimated potential street value of nearly $66.8 million.
Initial investigations suggest the farm had been set up about six months before it was discovered by police.
Six people, five men and one woman, were arrested and charged with cultivating a large commercial quantity of cannabis and participating in a criminal group.
All six, aged between 23 and 42, were refused bail to appear at Coonamble Local Court on Wednesday.
Investigators are working with the Department of Home Affairs regarding the visa status of the group.
Det Supt Watson said further arrests have not been ruled out.
Australian Associated Press
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