HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Green Team Kept Busy By Massive Crop Of Grow Ops
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Feb 2008
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2008 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: James Turner
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


IT seems the only things growing during a frigid Winnipeg winter are
indoor pot plants and the number of illegal grow op busts conducted by
city police.

It's been only six weeks since the new year began, but already more
than $8 million of illegally grown marijuana has been seized by police
at 13 homes at or near the city.

Police gave details yesterday about the three most recent raids of
grow ops operating in different areas of the city resulting in charges
against two men.

On Jan. 24, police busted an operation at 1054 Louelda St. with nearly
$1 million worth of plants inside.

The investigation into this home led police to a home on Redonda
Street Wednesday, where 270 plants worth nearly $500,000 were seized.

But Valentine's Day would yield police their second largest publicly
announced bust of the year so far.

An early-morning raid of a house on Whiteway Road in Transcona netted
more than 1,200 plants worth $1.4 million.

The bust is second only to a Jan. 15 seizure of 1,600 plants worth
nearly $2 million at 11 Burmac Rd.

Police are not linking the three busts to organized crime, but they
are part of a related investigation.

"It doesn't have to be some major organized crime group to be involved
in this type of criminal activity," said police spokesman Sgt. Kelly

In each of the three related busts, large amounts of power and water
were being stolen to grow the crop.

Manitoba Hydro said that on average, a typical-sized home with an
active grow op inside uses about five times the electricity considered
to be normal use.

Dennison indicated the most recent busts may not significantly affect
what appears to be a thriving pot-growing trade in the city, adding
the number of recent busts may show a rising trend.

Dennison said the police Green Team Unit is one of the busiest units
within the force and handles a number of active investigations.

Police also warn that grow ops are turning up more often in wealthier
neighbourhoods around the city.

Dennison said the signs of an active grow op include papered-up or
tin-foil covered windows, and people arriving then leaving at the same
times every day.

And then there's the smell. "I can tell you, if you're living next
door to it, you're going to smell it -- it has to be vented somehow,"
Dennison said.

Wei Peng Huang, 37, of Winnipeg, has been charged with three counts of
producing marijuana, three counts of possession for the purpose of
trafficking and theft offences for the Hydro and Water.

Barry Alvin Martens, 47, also of Winnipeg, is charged with two counts
of producing marijuana, two counts of possession for the purpose of
trafficking, and theft offenses.

11 signs a home is hiding a grow op

* People are only at the home for short periods of

* Large fans, lights and plant containers are carried into the home at
odd hours

* The exterior of the property is untidy

* People go in and out of the home using only the garage

* Discarded plant material litters the surrounding

* Windows are covered to block light and conceal activity

* Bright light can be seen escaping from windows

* Windows covered in condensation

* Construction sounds and ventilation fans can be heard

* A skunk-like smell can be detected outside the home

* Hydro meters are tampered with

- -- Source: The Winnipeg Police Service
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