Police have seized more than 2,000 cannabis plants worth more than $10 million during raids across Sydney’s south-west. Officers allege they found a “sophisticated drug syndicate” operating out of eight suburbs.

Search warrants were executed by Strike Force Palamara at properties in Narellan, Spring Farm, Elderslie, Mt Annan, Gregory Hills and Oran Park.

Acting Drug Squad Commander Detective Acting Superintendent Jason Smith said the hydroponic cannabis houses were positioned in quiet residential areas.

“There would have been families with children living within metres of dangerous chemicals and hazardous wiring that could have potentially caught fire or have electrocuted someone,” he said.

“The houses are certainly extremely dangerous in terms of the wiring and the chemicals that are within them and it is a concern for us when we see that occurring in fairly densely populated areas.

“There were rows and rows of plants at various stages of maturity, there were hundreds and hundreds of power outlets, power boards and electrical cabling coming from everywhere.”

Two men, aged 25 and 31, were arrested at an Oran Park home and a 39-year-old man was arrested at a property in Mt Annan.

Police said the trio have been charged with multiple drug-related offences, including cultivating a large commercial quantity of a prohibited plant by enhanced means.

Another two men, both aged 33, were taken into custody after searches in Cabramatta.

One of them was also charged with cultivating a large commercial quantity of a prohibited plant by enhanced means, while the other man was transferred to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Detectives said all four men have been refused bail and are expected to appear before Campbelltown Local Court on Friday.

“The extent of the syndicate is something that we don’t know but it’s certainly significant the level of sophistication, and the organisation in each of those properties would tell us that it is a very sophisticated syndicate,” Acting Superintendent Smith said.

“If you think that you can hide in the suburbs and either cultivate, manufacture or supply prohibited drugs, today’s operation will certainly show you that at some point in time you’ll be found.”