Pubdate: Wed, 30 Apr 2003
Source: Amherstburg Echo (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Amherstburg Echo
Author: Ron Giofu


AMHERSTBURG -- One person has been arrested and more arrests could be 
forthcoming in what is likely the largest drug bust ever in Amherstburg.

A 55-year-old man of no fixed address was arraigned Thursday on two 
criminal charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and one 
count of theft under the Criminal Code. He has been remanded into custody. 
Police executed a search warrant at 256 Pickering Dr. Wednesday and seized 
roughly $500,000 worth of marijuana and approximately $50,000 of growing 
equipment. The home and a newer-model Cadillac were also seized.

Amherstburg Police Services teamed with the Ontario Provincial Police Drug 
Enforcement Unit as well as the RCMP.

The house was deemed a "factory" for producing marijuana, which OPP 
Detective Sergeant Brett Mailloux calls some of the best marijuana he has 
seen during his police career. Mailloux is the unit commander for the OPP 
Drug Enforcement Unit.

Police say there was 497 marijuana plants seized from the residence. There 
were renovations made to the home, they add, which included venting to turn 
the home into a commercial marijuana growing operation. Essex Power had to 
be called in to cut power to the home so police could safely remove the 
narcotics and growing equipment.

Police believe the hydro electricity going into the home had been tampered 
with. Mailloux added there was "miles of electrical cords running through 
the house."

Amherstburg Police Chief Ray Marentette believed this was the largest bust 
in Amherstburg. He noted that Const. Scott Riddell has been involved with 
the investigation from the Amherstburg end.

"We haven't had any this large since I've been here," said Marentette.

Marentette doubted whether police will ever be able to put a stop to the trade.

"I don't think it can be stopped," he said. "All we can do is put dents in it."

In terms of across the county, Mailloux said this was one of the largest as 

"This is certainly significant," he said. "It's not the largest we've seen 
but it's in the top ten."

Mailloux said "numerous" arrests are pending. He noted it definitely 
organized crime and not a small amount of people involved. While it wasn't 
definitely known where the marijuana was headed, it could have been bound 
for south of the border.

"Other investigations of this nature leads us to believe it may have been 
headed to the United States," said Mailloux.

The demand for high grade marijuana is high in the U.S., Mailloux pointed 
out. He said in Canada a pound of marijuana can be sold for $3,000 while in 
the United States it can go for as high as $5-6,000 per pound.

"I think we put a dent in their profits," he said.

Asked to comment on proposed federal legislation to decriminalize marijuana 
possession for under 30 grams, Marentette said "I do not support 
decriminalization at all."
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