RCMP target marijuana grow-ops, organized crime in five-week sweep of province
Published Friday, March 9, 2012 7:07PM CST
A police operation has shut down 10 marijuana grow-ops in Manitoba in the last month.
In February, the RCMP launched a five-week program called Project District as part of a national strategy to target grow-ops and organized crime.
Manitoba RCMP have seized 3,300 plants and more than $34,000 in cash since the project started in February, officers said.
"We've seized enough marijuana essentially to produce one million joints for the street," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Robinson said.
RCMP say grow-ops are a source of revenue for organized crime, which creates the potential for violence or other crimes.
"Presently cannabis is the jet fuel for organized crime – it means money," said Staff Sgt. Brand Handoga of the RCMP Drug Section.
In addition, RCMP said the homes pose a "significant risk to health and safety," due to what they call a volatile mix of chemicals and unsafe modifications to electrical and plumbing services in homes.
"In the last couple of years we've had 47 residential fires that have been attributed to marijuana grow-ops. Of those, 37 people have been injured and six of those were fire-fighters," said Mike Purtill of the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner. "There is a real threat," he added.
Realtors in Manitoba are now required to tell potential buyers when a property has previously been used as a grow-op. Despite fixes to properties, mold and other health and safety issues can persist.
The RCMP made 1,070 drug seizures in over 200 communities across Manitoba in 2011.
To see more photos from the grow-ops, visit our photo gallery.
Interactive Map of Grow-Op Locations