HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html That's A Lot Of Pot
Pubdate: Fri, 03 Dec 2004
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Cary Castagna
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Cops Raid Largest Grow Operation In Winnipeg

The graffiti on the outside of the warehouse says it all: "Toke till
we choke." Inside the core-area warehouse at 468 Ross Ave., city cops
uncovered more than 10,000 pot plants in what is being touted as
Winnipeg's largest marijuana grow operation and the second-largest
single seizure in Canada.

The monster harvest has an estimated street value of more than $11

"The scope, the size of it, the amount of plants is absolutely
incredible. And the sophistication of the equipment ... it's really
mind-boggling when you look at it in terms of the operation," Winnipeg
police Chief Jack Ewatski told The Sun yesterday after touring the
5,000-sq. ft. building.

"Obviously, it is very well-organized ... and they put a lot of time,
effort and energy into this. I'm extremely pleased that we were able
to get to it before the marijuana was harvested."


The massive dope farm, which was raided about 2 a.m. yesterday, is
believed to be linked to Asian-based organized crime, said Winnipeg
police spokesman Const. Bob Johnson.

Cops discovered the record grow op during "an ongoing and lengthy
investigation into the Asian drug trade in Winnipeg," Johnson added.

No one was in the warehouse at the time of the raid.

Several suspects had been identified but no arrests had been reported
by press time last night.

The warehouse was being leased, Johnson said.


"It was a vacant warehouse and had been vacant for some time," Johnson
added. "We can only assume that the kind-hearted owner didn't have any
idea what was taking place."

City records show the warehouse, once used by Hallmark Furniture, is
owned by a numbered Manitoba company.

Incorporated in June 1998, the company was dissolved in October 2000,
according to provincial records. The owner couldn't be reached
yesterday for comment.

Investigators believe yesterday's find was the first crop at that
location. A typical growing cycle is 90 days, which means the culprits
set up shop less than three months ago.

Several neighbours said they saw limited activity at the warehouse,
but only late at night.

"It was never during the day," said Elizabeth Raven, 29.

The Ross Avenue resident said she was surprised by yesterday's mega
seizure, although she had had her suspicions.

"I was always questioning what was going in there in my head," Raven

Police will likely rent trucks to haul away the pot and grow
equipment, a job that could last all weekend, Johnson said.

"It's going to be a fairly large undertaking," Johnson added.

No other details were being provided. Besides being denied access to
the warehouse, the media weren't supplied with any police photos of
the operation.

"We don't want to do anything that's going to jeopardize the
prosecution of the people involved," Johnson explained.

The country's largest grow-op bust occurred last January, when some
100 police officers raided the former Molson brewery in Barrie, Ont.,
and seized more than 25,000 plants. The operation produced $100
million worth of pot a year.
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