Pubdate: Thu, 04 Aug 2011
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Author: Wade Paterson, Kelowna Capital News


RCMP have busted 38 marijuana grow operations from January to July in
West Kelowna.

This number is just below the total of 43 grow ops busted in all of

"Basically we have been very consistent over the last few years with
multiple search warrants executed each month," said Kelowna RCMP Sgt.
Ann Morrison.

On July 19, West Kelowna RCMP executed a search warrant in the 2500
block of Boucherie Road. The bust found 731 mature marijuana plants
and an illegal electrical bypass.

The consistent numbers associated with the grow ops makes it clear
homegrown marijuana is an ongoing problem in West Kelowna.

"I'd like to say that we're doing more than just scratching the
surface," said Morrison.

"I think any grow op that we bust is a disruption in production of
marijuana, whether it's direct or indirect."

Morrison said that West Kelowna RCMP has intelligence on a number grow
ops; however, they are not able to gain search warrants in every case
for a variety of reasons.

"These investigations are quite complex and they're quite
time-consuming," Morrison said.

"We always ask for public information and intelligence to help us
gather the evidence necessary to do a search warrant."

The operation of taking the marijuana grow operation down is extensive
as well.

"It requires a team of individuals to (bust a grow op). Depending how
big the grow operation is (determines) how many people will be
assigned to it. With hydro bypasses and those type of things, it is
quite dangerous. Sometimes it's not only our officers involved or in
jeopardy, it could be other workers (such as) Fortis or B.C. Hydro

Morrison said that the situation can be complicated when children are
involved as well.

According to Morrison, more search warrants could be granted with the
acquisition of a "green team," solely dedicated to busting grow ops.

"Our hope is to have a full-time unit for West Kelowna and Kelowna. We
know that there is enough work out there to justify the existence of
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