HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Grow-Op Parents Risk Losing Kids
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Mar 2000
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2000 The Province
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste. #1, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N3 Canada
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Charlie Anderson


Pot-growers busted by police are increasingly at risk of losing their
kids along with their liberty.

As police in the Lower Mainland harvest illegal marijuana crops, they
are finding that more and more families are involved in their

That means more calls to the ministry of children and families and
more child apprehensions.

Last weekend , police busted five houses in Vancouver, arrested 10
Vietnamese adults and prepared 22 drug charges.

They also found nine children, one of whom was only two days old.
Although these children were not apprehended, six children found
recently at two grow-ops in the Fraser Valley were taken away.

"We don't automatically take children away from parents because they
break the law," said Ross Dawson, director of child protection

"Drugs are a little more serious than cars (theft), in the sense of
the nature of that activity and what it attracts.  We would treat them
fairly seriously.  Certainly given the cases that have come to us just
recently, a number of those kids have been removed."

Dawson said he becomes involved if caregivers are arrested and
removed. But he said there is no automatic return of the child once a
parent is bailed out.

"Each one, we have to look at differently.  It depends on whether they
are being drawn in or acclimatized to a criminal environment.  Or are
they being put into a position of helping cultivate or acting as lookouts?"

Vancouver police Const. Anne Drennan said that while not wishing to
single out any group, the majority of those busted are Vietnamese, and
that more and more families appear to have been recruited.

"They are working or gardening or tending sometimes multiple
grow-ops," said Drennan.  "They are organized within themselves, but
we believe they work for an organized crime group within the
Vietnamese gang community.

On Monday, Vancouver police busted their 58th grow-op of the

Drennan said the number of tips coming in indicates as many as 4,500
different grow-ops may be in the city.
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