Source: London Free Press (Canada)
Copyright: 1998 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Nov 1998
Author: JANE SIMS, Free Press Reporter


Street value of drugs put at $100,000

MT. BRYDGES -- Drug cops busted up a farmhouse marijuana and hash oil
operation yesterday afternoon just west of here, seizing at least $100,000
in drugs and another $7,000 in cash.

The combined Strathroy OPP and London OPP drug enforcement unit arrested
five men. None resisted arrest, police said. As for hiding any evidence,
there was so much it was "kind of hard to flush," one officer said.

Police found a former family home that had become a messy drug operation.

A crude but effective hydroponic system was set up in an upstairs bedroom
still wallpapered for a child with pictures of baseball players. Police
found 140 healthy plants under powerful growing lights.

In the kitchen, cannabis oil production kettles sat on propane stoves.

"They were doing a lot of refining in a very dangerous environment," said
Strathroy OPP Const. Lyle Smith. "They were very cavalier about it."

Reporters entering the home were advised not to light any flame inside
because of a propane tank attached to a camp stove in the kitchen that was
used to boil alcohol off the cannabis oil.

"We're just concerned that this place, and us inside of it, doesn't go up."

While outside the air was pungent with the smell of nearby pig manure,
inside there was the distinct aroma of chemicals used to produce the drugs.

Kitchen windows were open and a fire extinguisher sat on the counter near
the camp stove. A large pot with a residue of refined oil -- worth about
$1,000, Smith said -- sat in the sink.

Plastic garbage cans full of ground marijuana leaves were found in the
kitchen and hallway.

Upstairs, mattresses were strewn about along with clothes and furniture. In
a front bedroom, bags of soil, empty flower pots and growing apparatus were
scattered about the plastic-covered floor. Dried leaves were ground into the

Evidence on a tin plate nearby indicated some of the product had been

Smith said the room was probably where the plants were processed or where
young plants were started before being moved outside in the summer.

In a back bedroom, grocery bags of buds (street value: $12,000, police said)
sat near a closet door with another garbage bag full of pot. A full-length
closet was used for drying and crushed marijuana was visible on the floor.

A panel to control humidity and light had been installed in the closet.

"I think they had a big operation in the summer time and they probably ended
that. This will be their hydroponic stuff in the winter," Smith said.

There were also 14 dogs on the property -- including three pit bulls and
nine pit bull puppies -- none of which gave police any trouble.

Charged with production of an illegal drug substance are Jim Sibley, 51, and
his sons, Darren Sibley, 26, and Kane Sibley, 23, all of Christina Road, Mt.
Brydges; Troy Knight, 20, of Falconbridge Drive, Mt. Brydges; and Dennis
Jarmain, 28, of Adelaide Road, Mt. Brydges.

They are to appear in London court for a bail hearing today.

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Checked-by: Don Beck