Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jul 2008
Source: Vaughan Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Multimedia Nova Corporation
Author: Karolyn Coorsh, With files from Corey Lewis
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


More marijuana grow-ops were found in Vaughan last year than in any 
of York Region's eight municipalities, police have revealed.

According to statistics obtained from York's drugs and vice 
enforcement unit, 23 of the 63 grow-ops dismantled in the region were 
in Vaughan in 2007. Of the 19,310 total plants seized, Vaughan busts 
produced 8,526 seized plants.

Each plant has a street value of about $1,000.

The continued presence of marijuana grow-ops is a concern in all 
parts of the region, particularly in the southern areas, including 
Vaughan and Markham, York Detective Dieter Boheim said.

The city's booming real estate industry is one attraction for illegal 
marijuana growers, he said

"What you definitely need for an indoor grow-op is a house," Boheim 
said. "So you've got to start off with, 'What's the easiest way for 
me to get a house?' "

For this reason, police often discover real estate insiders are in 
cahoots with homebuyers or renters looking for an inconspicuous house 
in which they can cultivate marijuana, he said.

"Real estate agents know what it's all about," Boheim said. "they 
probably get a cut."

New subdivisions and an increasingly diverse population in Vaughan 
also contribute to the ease with which a grow-op can function, he said.

"Now, more and more neighbours don't communicate so it's a lot easier 
for these people to hide," Boheim said.

Grow houses can have a detrimental effect on neighbourhoods, as it is 
common for growers to steal hydro. Amateur rewiring of the home's 
electrical system is also a dangerous fire hazard.

Most recently, police investigating a drug trafficking operation 
seized a Maple home after a grow-op was discovered within. Several 
York Region residents were arrested on drug charges following the 
investigation, including two Toronto police officers.

That investigation came on the heels of another bust announced in May 
involving a multimillion-dollar marijuana enterprise in which 
grow-ops were discovered at three Vaughan residences. That two-year 
investigation, dubbed Project Tropical Storm, netted over 1,100 
marijuana plants in Vaughan alone.
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