HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Busts Of Grow Ops Just Drop In Bucket
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Oct 2004
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Bob Holliday, Staff Reporter
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Says Union Cop

The recent spate of marijuana grow operations shut down by police is just 
scraping the surface, says the president of the Winnipeg Police 
Association. "By a conservative estimate, there are 700-to-1,000 grow-ops 
in the city," said Loren Schinkel.

Grow ops and organized crime are on the agenda for discussion by the 50 
delegates of the Big 10 gathering of Canada's largest police unions 
beginning Monday  at the Canad Inn Fort Garry.

At the same time, another 80 delegates will meet for the western labour 

Schinkel called for tougher sentencing for anyone convicted of a grow op to 
combat the thought of making "easy money."

"There's so much money to be made. It's up to the courts. Maybe it would be 
different if a grow op was located next to a judge's house," said Schinkel.

"You don't find grow ops in Grand Forks, N. D., because you go to prison 
for 10 years. That's what's needed here."

Schinkel said the pendulum of justice has to swing back to put the rights 
of society before the rights of an accused.

"When people accused of committing a crime are set free because of a 
technicality, judges send a negative message to the front-line officers and 
a positive message to the people who make a living from criminal 
activities. When the scales of justice dip, then the public suffers."

Political Will

To combat organized crime, law enforcement not only needs the finances, but 
the political will, from all levels of government.

"Society is losing to the criminals because police are being handcuffed on 
how they do the job," said Schinkel, who believes a reverse onus should be 
put on criminals to prove where they obtained their money.

Schinkel recalled the days when police were able to pull over 
colour-wearing members of the Los Brovos outlaw motorcycle club "50 times 
in a shift."

"We can't do that now, it's called profiling. If a person makes a conscious 
choice to become a member of organized crime, it should be with the 
expectation of police action," added Schinkel.
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