HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Busted Grow Op's Plants Go Missing
Pubdate: Sat, 29 May 2004
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Jim Farrell, The Edmonton Journal


EDMONTON - Some volunteer firefighters in the small communities of Holden, 
Ryley and Tofield were left fuming Friday after they had doused a fire at a 
marijuana grow operation, only to have all the plants disappear in the 
pre-dawn hours after local RCMP cordoned off the area with police tape and 

"In retrospect, some people might say it would have been a good idea for 
the RCMP to have stayed put until a larger contingent could come out and 
remove the plants," said Ivan Hrabec, mayor of Holden, 60 kilometres 
southeast of Edmonton.

Because Holden has only 400 residents, Hrabec has to wear several hats. He 
was one of 30 volunteer firefighters from the area who responded to an 11 
p.m. call after a rural resident reported he saw flames leaping from a 
tented structure located next to a quonset hut, several kilometres 
southwest of Holden.

When firefighters reached the scene, they found the tented structure had 
been filled with hay bales and those hay bales had burst into flame from 
the heat of a running diesel generator in their midst. Since the tent was 
only three metres from the side of the quonset hut, the heat of the burning 
bales had penetrated the building. Firefighters went into the quonset to 
hose it down.

Mixed with the odor of smoke was the sweet smell of marijuana. The 
firefighters had stumbled upon a marijuana grow operation. Tofield RCMP 
were called.

The plants were counted. Photos were taken. Tape proclaiming "fire line do 
not cross" and "police investigation do not cross" was strung up around the 
building. By 3:30 a.m., the last of the firefighters had gone home.

"The RCMP were the last to leave," said Reg Regehr, fire chief for Beaver 

"At about 8:30 a.m. we got another call," Hrabec said. When firefighters 
arrived at the scene, they discovered the bales had begun smouldering 
again. They also discovered that someone had driven through the police tape 
and emptied the quonset hut of its green gold.
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