Two large grow busts lead police to warn area public
Two marihuana grow-op busts have police in the region reminding locals that large-scale grow-ups create concerns well beyond the legalization controversy, according to RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke.
“On Aug. Central Kootenay RCMP, New Denver Detachment, executed a search warrant on a property on Hwy 6 near Winlaw,” Oelke said in a press release issued today. “One female was arrested at the property at the property and more than 400 very large marihuana plants were located along with marihuana bud and various marihuana products. Police continue to investigate and will be requesting charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.”
Shortly thereafter, he said, on Aug. 15, Central Kootenay RCMP, Nelson Detachment, located a grow operation on crown land near Crescent Valley.
“Two males were arrested while harvesting the marihuana plants. More than 150 marihuana plants were being grown in this operation. Both men were released from custody and will appear in court on a later date,” Oelke said, adding people need to discern the difference between the legalization/decriminalization debate and significant criminal operations such as these.
He said grow-op busts often include seizures of weapons and other drugs, adding marihuana is not just a gateway drug, it’s a gateway crime.
“There’s a lot of money involved in this – I think that always creates a risk of violence,” he said, adding it promotes a criminal counter-culture within the larger community. “It’s different from having it in your yard or in your house or even in your possession. It’s very big business.”
He also said it creates an incredible jeopardy for the end user, flooding the market with unregulated, potentially very dangerous product.
“With grow-ops, you never know what you’re getting,” he said. “They’ll do everything they can to keep bugs and pests off their plants. They’re not much concerned about the safety of their consumers.
“The RCMP needs the public’s help to eradicate marihuana grow-ops. The production and possession of marihuana is still illegal in Canada. The public is encouraged to report suspicious activities to local police or anonymously through Crime Stoppers.”