HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html A Million Joints Seized By To Cops
Pubdate: Wed, 15 Dec 2004
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Zen Ruryk, City Hall Bureau Chief


Grow-Ops An Epidemic

TORONTO COPS have seized enough pot to roll 1 million joints and have shut 
down 293 marijuana growing operations this year. As of Oct. 31, police 
officers had scooped about 7,000 kilos of weed off the street -- more than 
double the 3,100 kilos of marijuana seized last year, according to crime 
statistics reported yesterday to Toronto's budget committee.

Police Chief Julian Fantino said that this year's haul "represents about 1 
million joints," and added that the number of hydroponic grow-ops have 
exploded in Toronto.

"In 2001, they numbered 33 in total. To date this year, we're at 293 sites 
and rising," said Fantino. "The increase in grow sites and their labour 
intensive investigation is having a tremendous impact on our resources."

The city's top cop added that grow-ops-- often set up in homes located on 
quiet streets -- have become an epidemic in the Greater Toronto Area, one 
that poses public threats, including fire and mold.

As of Nov. 25, the force also seized 3 million images of child pornography 
-- an increase of 1 million over the total discovered during all of last year.

Child Porn UP

Officers seized 200,000 images of kiddie porn in 2001 and another 1 million 
illegal depictions of children in 2002.

Fantino said that his force has dedicated seven officers to capture those 
involved with child pornography.

"Our work in detecting and investigating the production and trafficking of 
these images is growing exponentially," he said.

"These investigations are very labour intensive and are, in fact, 
continuing to be one of the stressors in our policing resources."

The police department wants the city to boost its $677.5 million overall 
operating budget by $17.9 million -- or 2.6% -- to $695.4 million.