HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html B.C. Pot Industry Grows Despite Raids
Pubdate: Sat, 23 Nov 2002
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Page: A12
Copyright: 2002, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Robert Matas
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


Daily Crackdowns Not Enough, Police Say

VANCOUVER -- The lucrative marijuana trade continues to expand in British 
Columbia, despite almost daily police raids to close down illegal growing 

U.S. drug chief John Walters appealed to British Columbia authorities 
earlier this week to curb the province's marijuana trade. He said in 
Vancouver he had been told that the B.C. crop is worth as much as 
$6-billion a year and 95 per cent is sent into the United States.

Police forces in B.C. have been aggressively pursuing marijuana-growing 
operations in the past five years. In the most recent campaign, which they 
called Operation Greensweep, Vancouver police raided several locations this 

Despite their efforts, police say, British Columbians are producing more 
marijuana than ever before.

"It's a growing problem," Constable Tim Shields, a RCMP spokesman in the 
Vancouver suburb of Surrey, said yesterday in an interview.

"We're putting a 110-per-cent effort into this," he said.

Nevertheless, police estimate Vancouver and its suburbs have as many as 
10,000 marijuana-growing operations.

Constable Shields said most of the marijuana is not grown for personal use. 
The businesses are often attract violence and homicides. The RCMP would 
need many more police officers to put the illegal operations out of 
business, he said.

Constable Shields said police are aware that marijuana is being smuggled 
from Surrey across the Canada-U.S. border, in vehicles and backpacks.

"We just have more tips than we can investigate. Already, we are getting 
search warrants [to enter marijuana-growing operations] almost every day."

Earlier this week, the RCMP in the Vancouver suburb of Delta broke up the 
largest marijuana-growing operation in their history.

Police confiscated 2,500 mature marijuana plants from a rented barn in a 
semi-rural area.

Constable Sharlene Brooks said yesterday the police force in Delta has 
closed down 182 marijuana-growing operations since the beginning of last year.

"Our goal is to eliminate them all," she said.
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