HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cops Cope With Growing Problem
Pubdate: Wed, 23 Nov 2005
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Amy Lazar
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


Marijuana Busts Taking Up More And More Of Officers' Time

Five years ago, 95 per cent of Ontario Provincial Police drug 
enforcement was proactive work.

Now, it's 95 per cent reactive, and more than half of the workload 
centres around marijuana, Det. Insp. Frank Elbers said at OPP 
headquarters yesterday.

"There has been a large increase of plants seized in rural Ontario... 
and the amount of farm-sized marijuana operations is growing," Elbers 
said at a press conference to draw attention to the increase in rural 
marijuana grow operations.

In 2004, OPP drug officers seized 216,448 marijuana plants.

This year, up until September, officers have dismantled 600 indoor 
and outdoor operations and seized more than 400,000 plants.

"This increase is definitely alarming," he said.

He said the trend seems to be elaborate, farm-style grow-ops, most of 
which are run by organized crime groups.

In 2005, police across the province located 15 grow-ops ranging from 
7,000 to 24,000 plants.

In Orillia, growers tend to favour the terrain, Elbers said.

"We find large grow operations in swampy areas where they could be 
left without a lot of maintenance," he said.

The street value of each plant is about $1,000, but Elbers said the 
drugs don't stay local very long.

"This marijuana is destined for the U.S.," he said. "What heads to 
the U.S., the return is cash and cocaine."
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