Pubdate: Tue, 31 May 2011
Source: Haliburton County Echo, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011sOSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Chad Ingram


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

4. Well-trampled trails in wooded or swamp areas.

5. Cleared out areas in swamps, wooded areas or corn

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

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

1. As soon as possible, call your local police or Crime

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

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).
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.