Hydroponic system ‘used for broccoli’

LAVINGTON man Shawn Joseph Mizzi told police an elaborate hydroponic system was being used to grow broccoli, a court heard yesterday.

Officers had found money, guns and what is alleged to be cannabis at his unit during a raid on Thursday.

A sawn-off .22 rifle and a single barrel shotgun and ammunition for both had been found in the search.

Mizzi claimed they were bought from a man whose name he could not recall in a “package deal”, and $2350 cash in the unit was solely from buying, swapping and trading cars and car parts.

A total of 217 grams of what police believe is cannabis leaf was found, with Mizzi admitting he was a regular user of the drug.

Police went to raid his Kaitler’s Road unit about 4.30pm and there was no one home.

A previously broken back window near the laundry door was covered with a piece of cardboard and police pushed it aside to unlock the door and gain access.

When Mizzi arrived home an hour later, police had already made their discoveries and he was arrested.

Mizzi, 30, appeared in Albury Local Court yesterday on seven charges — five firearms matters and two drug offences.

Solicitor Allison Bruce made an application for bail, saying Mizzi was the father of five children and another on the way.

Ms Bruce said Mizzi had strong community ties because his parents lived in Wodonga and he had eight brothers and three sisters.

He had never held a shooter’s licence.

Ms Bruce said Mizzi had no drugs or firearms offences on his record and his partner could provide a $10,000 cash surety.

Mr Murray said there was a presumption against bail with two firearms matters and Mizzi was remanded in custody until February 10.

The court was told in tendered documents that police found 131 grams of what they believed to be cannabis leaf on a kitchen bench, with a bong.

Two more bags of similar material, weighing 86 grams, were found in a bedroom.

There was a single barrel shotgun in the back of a wardrobe, along with three boxes containing 75 shells.

A small amount of cannabis was found in a drawer, with $600 cash and the sawn-off .22 rifle in another drawer with two magazines and bullets.

Police discovered $1750 in $50 notes in the bathroom.

The front bedroom walls were lined with white plastic and heat lamps were hanging from the ceiling.

There was large plastic piping with holes at regular intervals, an irrigation system and an extraction fan.