HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html RCMP Urging Albertans To Watch For Weed
Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jul 2008
Source: Cochrane Times (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Cochrane Times
Author: James Emery


The RCMP is asking for public assistance in reporting illegal outdoor 
marijuana grow-operations and the crops they yield as the summer 
months wind down.

Police want individuals who come across an operation or plants in the 
wild to contact their local RCMP detachment or police agency to help 
combat the problem.

"If people are out hiking or camping in any rural areas, if they 
would just keep in mind that . if they come upon plants in the bush 
that they're not 100 per cent sure of, it may be worthwhile to 
contact their local RCMP detachment," said Cst. Ray Lucko, media 
relation's liaison with the Calgary RCMP.

Lucko, who was a member of the Cochrane RCMP detachment from 
2002-2007, said outdoor grow operations have been previously found in our area.

"We've have people in the past in the Waiparous area that were just 
walking along fairly close from the trails and noticed someone had 
gone into the bush and planted numerous [marijuana] plants."

Lucko said the Cochrane RCMP recovered the 30 to 40 marijuana plants 
two years ago.

Outdoor marijuana growers, sometimes referred to as guerilla growers, 
usually plant their crops on land that does not belong to them in 
generally remote locations.

"Some people do it because it's a little less risky. It's hard to be 
caught out at the scene a lot of the times," Lucko said.

"A lot of people do that so they can just go out there every couple 
weeks and check on their crop or the status of their plants. That 
way, they're not risking having the plants at their own residence."

Inventive guerilla growers will walk up river beds to rocky, 
inaccessible terrain to avoid detection, planting their seeds near 
poison ivy, skunk dens or areas heavily populated with mosquitoes for 
added security, knowing people are less likely to venture into those areas.

Marijuana plants can be difficult to spot as they may blend into 
surrounding foliage, but police are also urging those who work in the 
bush to come forward if they do happen to locate plants or an operation.

"A lot of times we have people who work in the bush areas; it could 
be logging, could be seasonal workers . they have to be aware that 
should they come across something that looks like a grow operation in 
the rural areas [they should report it]," Lucko said.

Marijuana seeds are usually planted during the month of May and 
harvested at the end of summer or early fall, an RCMP media release said.

Marijuana grow-ops can be a deadly crime to fight for police 
agencies, especially in light of the Mayerthorpe, Alta. RCMP tragedy.

In March 2005, four Mounties were gunned down while executing a 
search warrant on James Roszko's property after stolen vehicle parts 
and a marijuana grow-op were found.

Roszko murdered the four and subsequently took his own life.

"You always have to look at officer safety -- whether it's in a rural 
area, in the city or at a farmhouse," Lucko said. "You always have to 
look at the risk factors and do the appropriate background checks."

The cultivation of marijuana charge for an outdoor grow-op is the 
same as an indoor one, and can carry a maximum seven-year jail term 
if convicted.

The Cochrane RCMP can be reached at 403-932-2213.

Those reporting found plants that wish to remain anonymous and 
possibly qualify for a cash reward can contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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