Pubdate: Tue, 27 Dec 2011
Source: Abbotsford Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 The Abbotsford Times
Author: Christina Toth


Grow-Ops Targeted, Legal or Otherwise

Mission RCMP are warning people who grow medical or illegal marijuana 
that they and their plants may be targets of organized crime, or "grow rips."

"We really do believe it's an organized group of individuals 
targeting all types of marihuana grow-ops in Mission. We're concerned 
because we've observed a growing level of violence during grow rips," 
said RCMP Cpl. Sharon Siluch.

Criminals are prepared to use force in order to subdue occupants and 
steal the pot crops, she said.

"These people are serious and they're violent."

There have been 32 marijuana grow op thefts in Mission in the past 
year from homes and outbuildings, with violence used in 10 of those instances.

"We've noticed the violence is increasing, and the type of violence 
(is changing). They use guns, machetes, bear spray - two victims were 
shot," said Siluch.

Suspects have also used impact weapons like bats and swords and 
bindings like duct tape or plastic straps to subdue victims, she 
said. To sniff out the grow-ops, the thieves use sophisticated 
surveillance methods including multiple vehicles and lookouts, 
two-way radios, trespassing onto private property to monitor 
electrical meter readings or to investigate marijuana odours.

Siluch said criminals are even using reconnaissance techniques such 
as drilling holes into outbuildings and using "snake" cameras to 
monitor plant maturity in order to plan thefts.

Mission RCMP has been successful in charging three people involved in 
grow rips this year. Siluch said the individuals do not appear to be connected.

Kenneth W. Chudley, 26, of Abbotsford was charged with robbery, break 
and enter with intent to commit an indictable offense, aggravated 
assault, unlawful confinement in December 2010. Chudley was found 
guilty on some of those charges and is expected to be sentenced soon.

Stefan Andre Morin, 27, of Coquitlam was charged with break and enter 
with intent to commit, in March 2011.

Christopher Anthony Morgado, 24, of Coquitlam was charged with creak 
and enter and intent to commit in May, 2011.

To report any suspicious activity call the Mission detachment at 
604-826-7161, or Crimestoppers 1-800-222-TIPS.
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