Gilla Mogilevsky, a devoted student of Kabbalah – a religious mystical system of Judaism claiming an insight into divine nature – was arrested at her home in St Ives early today.
About 40 armed police raided another three adjacent homes belonging to the 53-year-old woman, uncovering just under 1000 cannabis plants worth an estimated $2 million.
Two of Ms Mogilevsky's sons, aged 23 and 24, were also arrested at St Ives while a third, aged 26, was arrested on the Gold Coast with the help of Queensland police.
Detectives are seeking his extradition to New South Wales, police said.
All four have been charged with cultivating a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and face 20 years in jail.
Neighbours first alerted police to activities inside the homes in early April.
Locals said they had noticed a potent smell coming from the homes.
Inside the three houses today, detectives said they uncovered a large-scale hydroponic operation with an elaborate watering, fan and light system.
The trio had allegedly been stealing electricity to power the operation.
Bags of dried cannabis ready for distribution were also netted in the dawn raids, and police seized a car, speed boat and electrical goods as the alleged proceeds of crime.
Ms Mogilevsky was featured in a June Woman's Day article, saying Kabbalah, popular with celebrities like Madonna, saved her from the 2002 Bali bombings and a plane crash.
She was described as "an ethereal woman of seemingly indeterminate age inhabiting a heightened spiritual world" who was "on a quest for hidden knowledge".
The article also described her as an accomplished pranic healer – a form of no-touch energy healing.
The drug sting was part of investigations by Strike Force Norca, set up to curtail cannabis trade in the area since April.
Following the arrests, NSW Police Minister Carl Scully said tough law changes made this week meant the family could face tough new penalties, including possible 20-year prison sentences.
"We've made it easier for the police to search drug premises and we've made it easier to prosecute for lower amounts," Mr Scully said.
"Four people have been arrested and they have been charged with the most serious drug offences."
All four members of the Mogilevsky family were refused bail.