RCMP STORM SIX HOUSES, BUST GROW OPERATIONS
Mission RCMP stormed six houses Friday in an offensive sweep targeting marijuana grow operations in the district, and uncovered thousands of plants, three young children, and some malnourished animals.
The blitz followed the detachment's Drug Investigative Team executing five other warrants earlier in the week, which resulted in the seizure of more than several hundred marijuana plants, firearms, and related grow equipment.
Also last week, three violent home invasions police believe were linked to grow operations led to the arrest of a 23-year-old Mission man.
"We will continue to ensure that these criminal activities are stopped and dismantled. Organized crime in the District of Mission will not be tolerated. Mission is a safe place for all to live, work and play and we are committed to keeping it that way," said Insp. Pat Walsh, Mission detachment commander, according to a release issued on Friday.
In the first home raided -- a rural residence in the 12400 block of Ainsworth Street -- drug investigators discovered three children under the age of eight, along with 43 pounds of drying marijuana and 1,400 plants.
The children's parents, a 33-year-old man and his wife, 29, were arrested without incident.
The children were turned over to relatives while their parents were processed at the Mission detachment.
The same man's second home -- in the 33300 block of Fourth Avenue -- was also searched by police, who discovered a hungry female pit bull cross and a young Vietnamese pot-bellied pig among 200 marijuana plants.
Mission Animal Control were called to deal with the animals.
A third unoccupied home, right next door to the second, netted more than 1,000 plants in various stages of growth, and BC Hydro was called in to deal with a potentially lethal electrical bypass.
Police seized 790 marihuana plants in various stages of growth in the fourth raid of an unoccupied house in the 33,900 block of Araki Court.
The fifth and sixth homes -- in the 7800 block of Peytavin Place and the 7600 block of Strachan Street -- were heavily barricaded and drug investigators had to batter their way into the residences .
Police seized 700 plants and 10 pounds of dried marihuana, and 850 plants respectively.
Two men arrested at last home searched face criminal charges.
RCMP spokesman, Staff Sgt. John Ward, said the majority grow operations in B.C. are run by organized crime groups who export marijuana in bulk to the U.S. where it is exchanged for cocaine and illegal firearms.
Different groups with varying types of expertise often link together to run a marijuana enterprise, he said.
"Organized crime is any group that decides it has funds and expertise, such as the Hells Angels, and they can hire others to do the growing."
Some groups provide the grow experience, others provide locations, while other's might supply the outlets and transportation, he said.
Ward wouldn't say which organized crime groups were at work in the Mission area because it would jeopardize ongoing investigations.
Tue, 20 Feb 2007
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Abbotsford News