HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Raids On Grow Houses Span Country
Pubdate: Thu, 31 Jan 2002
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Toronto Star


Police Seize Over 46,000 Pot Plants, Arrest 136 People

 From Canadian Press

Police officers from city, regional, provincial and federal forces swept 
down on home-grow marijuana operations from Nova Scotia to British Columbia 
today. "Police executed 149 search warrants across Canada by 3:30 p.m. 
(ET)," Det. Mike Klimm, spokesman for police in Ontario's York Region, said 
Wednesday afternoon.

"We've made 136 arrests and laid 289 charges. ... A total of 46,796 plants 
were seized in the raids."

About 500 officers from more than 20 agencies were involved in the raids. 
In addition to the marijuana plants, police seized growing equipment worth 
about $3.2 million, Klimm said.

"There was no violence at all but some weapons were seized," he said.

Police were to conduct additional raids in Quebec and British Columbia on 
Wednesday evening, Klimm said.

"There are still about 40 warrants to be executed," he said. "Officers also 
found 28 children in the homes raided today.

"The children have been placed with relatives or children's aid services."

Police forces began planning the operation in late November, Klimm said, 
adding that a final arrest total wasn't expected until Thursday.

Police consider the home-grow operations particularly dangerous because the 
growers often bypass electricity meters.

Klimm said 90 of the operations raided Wednesday involved hydro bypasses.

There have been several home fires caused by faulty wiring used to power 
the grow lamps.

"About eight per cent of bypass operations end up having a fire," Klimm said.

The electricity from the bypass, which doesn't go through fuses or circuit 
breakers, poses a danger to emergency personnel responding to the fire.

"A typical grow operation consumes about $1,500 worth of electricity in a 
month," Klimm said.

Another danger is altered ventilation to remove fumes and humidity from the 
house, said Supt. John Nielson, a spokesman for Peel Region police in Ontario.

This can lead to a build-up of dangerous carbon monoxide inside the 
residence, Nielson said.

"The purpose of this operation is to educate the public and make them aware 
of the dangers facing the general public and emergency personnel responding 
to these residences," he said.

The bulk of the raids was conducted in Ontario, where more than 100 homes 
were targeted.

Vancouver police laid 53 charges against 13 people in raids on 16 homes. 
Raids were also made in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg.

Police in Quebec, where 22 homes were raided, and Nova Scotia, where there 
was one raid, gave no details as to which communities were targeted.
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