HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html RCMP Go Underground In Search For Pot Growers
Pubdate: Mon, 25 Oct 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Bob Keating, Special to The Province
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


SALMO -- RCMP suspect commercial pot growers in the West Kootenay
region have gone underground -- literally.

"There is some indication that grow activity has moved into various
mines," Cpl. Neil Cross of Salmo RCMP said yesterday.

"We wanted to see for ourselves and do some training."

So, last week, about 36 specially equipped officers swarmed an old,
abandoned mine deep in the hills outside this small community south of

It was part training exercise, part hunch.

The Canex mine -- abandoned by lead-zinc giant Cominco three decades
ago -- consists of about 30 kilometres of tunnels and caverns, some
large enough to drive into.

RCMP spent about three hours in the old mine. They didn't find
evidence of a grow-op, but say that doesn't mean one wasn't there at
some point.

Police say Canex and other abandoned mines in the province could be
used as large-scale grow-ops.

"There are a half-dozen mines I can think of within 25 kilometres of
here," said Cross. "They are out of the way, hidden, with large
cavities that can be used for that type of thing."

RCMP checked the mine's logistics with the B.C. government before
moving in with special gear to go deep underground.

"You could have gasses, sections that are in danger of collapse," said

"There's also miles and miles of tunnels in there where you could get
lost. We made sure we knew what was in there and had proper air packs,
that kind of thing."

The idea of growing pot in underground mines is not new. Several years
ago, the federal government awarded a contract to grow "medical"
marijuana to a company in Flin Flon, Man. The pot was grown under
hydroponic grow lights at an old Hudson's Bay Mining and Smelting Co.
underground mine.

Police say the same method could be used by illegal growers with
generators and some imagination.

"The business is constantly changing. There are always new and
innovative ideas," said Cross.

Added Salmo Mayor Rick Korens: "There are some pretty ingenious people
around here. It's completely plausible. [The old Canex mine] is a huge
cavern. You could drive a truck in there."
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