Pubdate: Thu, 28 Mar 2002
Source: Elmira Independent (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Elmira Independent
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Mayor Goes Inside a Wellesley Home-Grow, and Sees Regional Police Drug 
Officers at Their Best

Wellesley mayor Doug Bergman recently got a first-hand look at one of the 
largest home-grow marijuana operations found in Waterloo Region so far.

On Mar. 22, at 8:20am, the drug branch of the Waterloo Regional Police 
executed a search warrant at 114 Lawrence Ave., in Wellesley. They seized 
about 700 plants and about $20,000 worth of equipment. According to Staff 
Sgt. Brent Thomlison, of media relations, the average haul has been 400-500 

Bergman and Wilmot mayor Wayne Roth were invited to see the bust for 

"When I got there, the drug squad had already gained entry to the house, 
and the hydro people were there, doing the disconnects and determining how 
much hydro had been stolen," Bergman said.

There was no sign of anyone living in the house, but plenty to see just the 
same. Donning a filter mask, Bergman was taken inside. The door to the 
basement had been sealed off by the owner, to prevent any smell from 
escaping. The basement itself was hot and humid, and full of plants at 
various stages of growth. The largest of these were within three weeks of 

Bergman noted that the hydro bypass and inside wiring were done by people 
who knew what they were doing. The hydro bypass was neat, going through a 
hole cut in the basement wall. A breaker panel had been installed for the 
grow lights, cables were tied and lights hung from chains.

"There was nothing sloppy about it," said Bergman. "These guys were pros."

The basement was also fitted with an elaborate ventilation system, 
including fans and ducts that ran through the upstairs closets to the roof. 
There were also plenty of little paper air fresheners to camouflage the smell.

"We could smell something very different and very strange upstairs, but 
once we were in the basement, we could smell it," Bergman said. "Even 
through the mask, we could smell it."

While a filter mask was enough for a brief visit, the police wore suits 
with full face masks -- a necessary measure.

"After spending time in the basement, I could feel it in my eyes," Bergman 
said. "It was starting to burn."

Bergman said that he was very impressed with the police and hydro workers 
he saw. After leaving the basement, he had an opportunity to speak to some 
of them. He asked one drug officer if it was frustrating to bust one 
home-grow after another, and see the owners get off with light sentences.

The answer was surprising. Bergman said that the officer was not 
frustrated, and told him a story about a beach, where the high waves 
continued to wash starfish onto the sand. In the midst of this, an old man 
was throwing starfish back in the water, even though thousands continued to 
be washed ashore. When asked what good he was doing, the old man threw a 
starfish into the water and said "that one will live."

"It's a good way to look at it," said Bergman. "The dope they took out of 
this house is dope that won't get into the hands of kids."

Between the safety risks, the hours of work and the mounds of paperwork 
involved in busting a home-grow operation, Bergman said that few people 
understand just how hard the members of the drug unit work to keep that 
dope off the streets.

"We don't give these guys enough credit, and we don't have enough of them," 
he said. "I've said it before, and it's true."

As of press time, no arrest had been made, but the investigation is continuing.

There are a number of signs by which you might recognize a home-grow in 
your own neighbourhood.

The house will have changed hands recently, and the new owners will tend to 
avoid mixing with their neighbours.

The windows will generally be covered. Blinds and drapes will be closed. In 
spite of this, you might notice light coming from the house at unusual 
times, particularly from the basement.

There will be odd comings and goings. Someone might show up for two hours, 
leave, and not be seen again for days.

There might also be strange odours coming from the house.

If this sounds like a house in your neighbourhood, notify the police.
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