Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jul 2007
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2007 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Author: Jason Magder


One arrest, more expected. Police seize 4,500 marijuana plants worth
estimated $4.5 million

The Gazette

You can't see the small building from the street, but Laval police say
it housed one of the largest marijuana growing operations in the
city's history.

Laval police raided the building on Dagenais Blvd. W., behind a
trucking company, in the city's Fabreville district Thursday afternoon.

They seized 4,500 marijuana plants, most of which appeared to have
fully matured.

Investigators estimated the plants' value at $1,000 each, for a total
street value of about $4.5 million.

Police also confiscated about $200,000 in growing equipment, which
included lamps, electrical equipment and 16 industrial-sized air

Police arrested a man who was found in the building.

Yvon Duguay, 42, was charged with production of marijuana and
trafficking illegal narcotics.

Investigators said they expect to make more arrests in the coming days
or weeks.

"We have some clues that link this operation with biker gangs," said
Det.-Lt. Luc Marier, of the Laval police morality and drug squad.

"We're investigating those clues now. The operation was extremely
sophisticated." Thursday's bust came after a yearlong investigation
that involved about 25 police officers. About 50 people were involved
in Thursday's raid, including Laval firefighters, who helped break
down walls, and electricians.

The building was being rented, but police would not say if the tenants
were involved in the case.

The building on Dagenais has a door in front and one on the side, as
well as a garage in the back. Most of the building's white paint
appears to be peeling away.

An employee at the neighbouring transport company said yesterday the
building had been empty since police arrived Thursday and seized all
the plants and growing equipment.

The man declined to give any more information. No one else at the
company would grant an interview.

Marijuana grow operations have become commonplace in Laval, Marier
said. He estimated that 150 grow ops are found in that city every
year, often after a fire.

Grow ops require an enormous amount of electricity, and marijuana
growers often modify a building's electrical connection to boost the
power supply, which can increase the risk of a blaze.

Most grow ops are based in single-family houses in residential
neighbourhoods, Marier noted.

The Dagenais grow op had been in operation for several months, Marier

It takes about a month for a marijuana plant to reach maturity.
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