Pubdate: Wed, 24 Nov 2004
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Duncan News Leader
Author: Aaron Bichard
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (CN Police)


Cowichan Valley RCMP have cultivated a track record of success over
the past two months when it comes to taking down marijuana grow shows.

North Cowichan/ Duncan RCMP took down three professional operations on
Mina Road, a stretch of rural asphalt off of Highway 18 that only has
five properties on it.

"These are very sophisticated operations," Const. Jennifer Prunty
said. "Ones of this size are linked to organized crime. These
properties were used specifically for the purpose of growing marijuana."

On Oct. 14 and 15, two properties were searched yielding 1,000 plants
and resulting in the arrests of three men. The operations are thought
to be related.

Two Duncan men - one 44, the other 41 - and one Lake Cowichan man, 37,
are expected to be in court in December.

On Nov. 17 another property on Mina Road was searched and a
multi-level bunker built under a structure was discovered. Numerous
lights and 250 plants were seized.

A 34-year-old Duncan man was arrested and will appear in court in

On Nov. 12 another grow-op was discovered in Crofton when the house
caught fire.

"We can't pinpoint exactly how these operations are linked to
organized crime because the relationship is too complex," Prunty said.
"There are so many different channels keeping the cross-border drug
trade going, you could have various groups working together."

Meanwhile, Shawnigan Lake RCMP have been targeting grow-ops in their
area as well.

On Friday, the police entered a residence on Telegraph Road and seized
more than 300 plants and numerous lamps and ballasts. A 54-year-old
man and a woman were arrested and are being charged with production of
a controlled substance.

Another two people were arrested Oct. 3 when police seized
approximately 200 plants on Tara Road.

Sgt. Doug Pack said his detachment isn't ramping up efforts to take
down grow-ops, it's just a matter of investigations coming to fruition.

Prunty said the message to illegal marijuana growers is simple.

"People around here are very alert to suspicious activity," she said.
"Growers will be caught."
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