Pubdate: Wed, 13 Apr 2005
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Authors: Eve Edmonds and Nelson Bennett
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


One of the three men charged in a marijuana grow rip was denied bail in 
Richmond provincial court Tuesday.

Steven Keall, 22, was charged with break and entry, using a firearm to 
commit robbery and unlawful confinement.

The other two men charged, Kristopher Kinghorne and Michael Medaric, will 
appear in court Wednesday and April 26 respectively.

According to Richmond RCMP, the three suspects allegedly forced their way 
into 23241 Gilley Rd. Saturday around 11:30 p.m. where they held six 
occupants - three men and three women - at gunpoint.

At one point, one of the male occupants of the house claims to have been 
pistol-whipped when he refused to cooperate, according to Richmond RCMP.

The man managed to get out of the house and call 911.

Meanwhile, the three suspects loaded their car trunk with pot. When police 
arrived, the suspects fled, but boxed themselves in on a cul-de-sac.

A police dog was used to help collar the three suspects.

Saturday's grow rip was the second known to police in recent weeks.

But this time, the victims were, in fact, growing pot, according to RCMP - 
unlike a home invasion March 10, in which an innocent couple at the 
Cranberry Lane townhouses in East Richmond were terrorized by pot thieves 
who got the wrong house.

An investigation into that case led Richmond RCMP to find one of the most 
extensive grow ops in Richmond's history. Nineteen units of a 90-unit 
townhouse complex were found to be used for growing pot.

During a city council briefing on the Richmond RCMP's five-year plan 
Monday, Mayor Malcolm Brodie asked RCMP Supt. Ward Clapham if the city is 
doing everything it can to address the problem of marijuana cultivation.

"I think we have to revisit the whole problem, and it has to become a 
community problem," Clapham said.

Richmond RCMP have a five-member "green team" dedicated to busting grow 
ops, and the city and RCMP also have a "green-clean" program aimed at 
educating landlords on how to spot grow ops.

The city is also drafting a bylaw that will address the clean-up of grow 
ops, after they are discovered.

Despite everything the city and RCMP are doing to combat the problem, grow 
ops continue to flourish here, as well as nearly every other community in 

With all the recent media exposure of the problem, Clapham said he thought 
the public would have demanded that fighting marijuana cultivation would 
become a higher priority in the public's mind.

"I don't know what the breaking point will be before we, as an entire 
society, say enough is enough," Clapham said. "I fear it's just a matter of 
time before somebody gets really hurt or we have a major fire."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom