Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 2004
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Winnipeg Free Press
Authors: Jason Bell and Alexandra Paul


GROWING marijuana proved to be a death sentence for an RM of
Springfield man Wednesday night.

Daniel William Nolin, 41, was tinkering with the lights on his
marijuana grow operation when he was electrocuted, RCMP said yesterday.

An autopsy has confirmed the cause of death.

The man's body was found by a friend in the basement of a home on
Sellen Place, just off Hwy. 207, a few kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

The grow operation was relatively small, said RCMP spokesman Sgt.
Steve Saunders.

"It was about 24 plants," Saunders said. "It certainly begs the
question, 'Was it worth it?' " Saunders said about half the plants
were still immature and the others had recently been harvested, adding
the total value was minimal.

Police have long said rigging electricity to power grow operations is
a risky business.

For the uneducated, diverting electricity and tampering with wiring
can be deadly."It's absolutely dangerous," Saunders said. "Those grow
lights draw a lot of power.

"Often, these people are somewhat cavalier in their wiring

John Sellen, a neighbour, said the first sign of trouble came
Wednesday night when two RCMP cruisers drove up Sellen Place and
parked at the back of the property.

The cruisers stayed put all evening in the upscale rural enclave.
Sellen and his wife, Velma, were shocked to hear a man had died.

"It's illegal (but) I'd sooner see the guy alive and growing his
marijuana than dead," Sellen said

Sellen once owned the farmhouse. He sold it and 38 acres of farmland
around it for a upscale subdivision in the early '90s. The farmhouse
is a modest two-storey home that overlooks the subdivision on a
secluded knoll. It is shielded from the road by trees.

"It's sitting right in the bush... but then they don't want any undue
attention, those guys, and I doubt they bothered any of the
neighbours. I'm sure the neighbours didn't even know their names. We
(only) knew somebody was renting it," Sellen said.

There are four homes on generous lots fronting the highway. A couple
of the properties are big enough to be considered mansions. Driveways
are posted with No Trespassing signs.

One Garven Road-area resident dropped in on the enclave yesterday to
check out the old farmhouse.

A marijuana grow operation is the last thing he expected to be going
on, said the man, who didn't give his name.

"I was so surprised. This is a new area and it's so upscale," said the
man. He said he doubted the residents of the mansions would even talk
about the operation because growing marijuana is illegal; gossip could
possibly lower property values, he said.

"Not good for resale," he remarked. The neighbours are well-to do
quiet business people.

One family is reputed to own a couple of fast-food outlets. Another is
said to be a manager in a car dealership in Winnipeg and a third
apparently owns an auto-parts business.

RCMP are trying to determine whether anybody else was involved in the
grow operation.

A man who lives just around the block said he noticed some activity at
the Sellen Place home about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"There was an ambulance and police cars. We had no way of knowing what
was going on," said the resident, who didn't want to give his name. "I
heard about it on the radio (yesterday) and put it all together.

"It's not exactly something you'd think is happening in the

The relatively new development, not far from Elmhurst and Pine Ridge
golf courses, boasts several large, luxurious homes. 
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