Pubdate: Fri, 31 Aug 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


Team Finds 19,000 Plants at 350 Sites in Nine-Day Campaign

Island police say they've destroyed the largest amount of marijuana
since they started a summer eradication program eight years ago.

A combined team of RCMP, municipal police and Canadian Forces
personnel found more than 19,000 plants at 350 sites during a nine-day
campaign that ended this week.

"To be the best of my knowledge, this is the largest haul," said Cpl.
Greg Cox, RCMP Island spokesman.

"I think it's a combination of things. The weather was very
co-operative with us this year which made it a little bit easier for
the project to be done. As well, marijuana production, and I don't
mean this to be a pun, but it is a growing problem."

The team mainly focused on grow-ops on Crown land, typically in
remote, out-of-the-way locations. The Canadian Forces used its Sea
King helicopters to help spot sites and transport personnel.

Even though the summer eradication program is widely-publicized every
year, Cox said profits are large enough that people are willing to
take the risk of being discovered by police.

No one was charged in the seizures. Police did find two men at one
grow-op in Campbell River.

However, Cox said because it was on Crown land there was no proof the
men were responsible.

Investigators believe many of the grow-ops are linked to organized
crime, said Cox.

Critics call the police's summer eradication program a
public-relations exercise and an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars.

Last year's program cost approximately $40,000, including fuel for the
helicopters, said Cox. But he said value of the marijuana seized
exceeded the costs. 
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