Pubdate: Tue, 31 May 2011 Source: Haliburton County Echo, The (CN ON) Copyright: 2011sOSPREY Media Group Inc. Contact: http://www.haliburtonecho.ca/feedback1/LetterToEditor.aspx Website: http://www.haliburtonecho.ca/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3972 Author: Chad Ingram OPP PREPARING FOR SPRING MARIJUANA SUPPRESSION STRATEGY Officers from the Haliburton Highlands OPP detachment will be assisted by other units such as the Emergency Response Team, Criminal Investigations Unit and Highway Safety Division, as they gear up to intercept suspects wanting to use Haliburton County for their outdoor marijuana grow ops. The OPP will be seeking the public's assistance in this strategy. Officers will be educating the public in how to know an outdoor marijuana grow op may be in their area. Pamphlets will be distributed throughout Haliburton County over the next few weeks, outlining the characteristics of an outdoor marijuana grow op. Residents of Haliburton County are urged to read the pamphlet and contact the OPP if they notice any suspicious activity in their area. "The priority of the OPP is public safety, and we need the assistance of the citizens of Haliburton County to help us keep this community safer, by picking up the phone and contacting the OPP at the time that something suspicious is happening," says Staff Sergeant Malcolm Quigley the detachment commander of Haliburton Highlands OPP. During the late spring and summer months each year, people involved with growing illegal marijuana head into rural areas to start and care for, in some cases very large plots of marijuana plants. Typically, these crops are located in swamps, corn fields, wooded areas, along rivers and on rural rental properties with large acreage. Marijuana plants are bright green in colour and grow to between three and five feet in height. Marijuana leaves have seven jagged fingers and the plants give off a strong, pungent, musty odour. Common indicators of outdoor marijuana grow operations include: 1. Abandoned vehicles parked on side roads or trails. 2. People walking in remote areas for no apparent reason. 3. Bags of fertilizer, planting trays or chemicals located in remote areas. 4. Well-trampled trails in wooded or swamp areas. 5. Cleared out areas in swamps, wooded areas or corn fields. 6. Numerous no trespassing signs out of nowhere. Typically, marijuana crops will be harvested starting as early as late August up until the beginning of October. There are numerous safety risks of which the public should be wary. These risks include the potential presence of criminals, weapons and ammunition found on grow-op sites, and the potential for booby traps, rigged by the criminals growing these plants in an attempt to defend their illegal crops from other criminals known as "pot pirates." All of these factors could lead to dangerous confrontations for unsuspecting, innocent people - including children - who just happen to be in the area of these illegal crops. Another risk that the OPP wants to highlight is environmental. These criminal operations usually involve the unregulated use of many chemicals and other environmentally damaging products. Public Safety Tips If you discover or suspect an outdoor marijuana grow operation: 1. As soon as possible, call your local police or Crime Stoppers. 2. Do not touch the marijuana plants due to potential chemical residue on the plants. 3. If confronted by a marijuana grower, leave the area immediately and contact police. 4. If possible and safe to do so, record any license plate or GPS information and notify police. 5. In some cases, outdoor marijuana grows are guarded or protected by booby-traps. If you discovered a crop of marijuana plants, do not enter the area! For your personal safety, turn around and immediately leave the area the same way you came in. If you have any information regarding illegal marijuana grow ops, contact your local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.