A 65-YEAR-old man has been gaoled after pleading guilty to trafficking a drug of dependence, possession of cannabis and cultivating a narcotic plant in Morwell County Court on Wednesday.
John William Bird of Warragul, had established a sophisticated hydroponic set-up on his Briagolong property.
Members of the police air wing spotted large amounts of fertiliser on the back of a utility at the property, and in a subsequent search police seized more than 550 plants with a street value of more than $2 million.
Police said Bird had intended for the operation to be used as a large scale commercial enterprise selling cannabis.
In sentencing, judge John Smallwood said the sheer volume of the operation and a previous conviction of drug cultivation warranted gaol time. However in recognition of Bird’s early guilty plea, he sentenced him to five years gaol.
He will be eligible for parole in March 2019.