Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 2009
Source: Vaughan Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Multimedia Nova Corporation
Page 5
Author: Armand La Barge (York Region Police Chief)


The issues of drug use, drug trafficking and drug production in our 
region are consistently identified as concerns by our residents.

York Regional Police is committed to identifying and arresting those 
responsible for the sale and manufacture of illegal drugs. In 
addition to the drugs they produce, these illegal drug factories give 
rise to such other crimes as robberies, home invasions, violent 
assaults and even homicides.

We at York Regional Police pride ourselves on being a national leader 
in the eradication of marijuana grow operations and clandestine drug 
labs. Officers in our drugs and vice unit have dedicated themselves 
to dismantling these dangerous operations and charging the people responsible.

In 2008, drugs and vice unit officers executed 216 warrants and 
charged 314 people with 958 offences. We seized more than $34 million 
worth of marijuana, more than 19,000 ecstasy pills and another 31,000 
grams of methamphetamine in powder form, among other illegal 
substances. We also seized 19 guns and more than $500,000 in cash and 
securities. Unfortunately, we also found six children living in these 
hideous conditions and placed them in the care of Children's Aid.

Our work in this area continues and we have seen startling success in 
the last five years, so much so that we believe many offenders have 
taken their business outside York Region.

However, we are seeing more incidents involving the production of 
synthetic drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine in clandestine labs. 
A recent report by the United Nations identifies Canada as a major 
exporter of these drugs and they are being manufactured in 
residential homes and in commercial and industrial areas across this country.

Last month, officers in the drugs and vice unit dismantled a massive 
clandestine laboratory that was producing synthetic drugs in an 
industrial unit in a Vaughan commercial plaza located on Winges Rd. 
More than $3 million worth of drugs and the pre-cursors used to 
manufacture them were seized before they got to the street and eight 
people were charged with numerous offences.

We are fighting the war on drugs on many sides and with many tools. 
Diligent investigation and committed enforcement are two important 
tools, but so too are education and community awareness.

We urge residents to assist us in the fight by being alert to the 
signs of drug activity in your community. Together we can make a 
difference in our community and together we can help keep York Region 
safe. Please visit for more information.

Here are some signs of a residential marijuana grow-op or clandestine lab:

. Little or no human activity.

. Neglected lawns and gardens.

. Windows always covered.

. Condensation of windows.

. People coming and going at odd hours or pulling directly into the 
garage to not be seen.

. Basement lights on all day long or bright lights escaping from 
other covered windows.

If you are suspicious, call police.
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