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Three-week Surveillance Leads RCMP To $120,000 Drug Bust

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Golden RCMP have been over recent weeks investigating an indoor and outdoor marijuana grow operation in Donald.

As a result of their efforts, two Golden residents - a 27 year-old male and a 24 year-old female - were arrested along with two male Albertans, aged 30 and 33. More than 375 mature plants were seized with a profit value of approximately $120,000.

RCMP Detachment Commander Marko Shehovac says the investigation continues.

“This has been pretty low key for about three weeks,” he explains. “We had been receiving information about some of the activities in Donald over a lengthy period of time. Recently we received some information we could actually follow up on.”

While names of those involved can’t be released until charges are approved by the Crown, Shehovac says all four adults are being charged with a number of offences under the controlled drugs and substance act. They are all to appear in Golden provincial court on Nov. 21.

Both suspects from Golden are being charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, trafficking a controlled substance and production of marijuana.

The 30 year-old Albertan is charged with possession of a controlled substance and production of marijuana, the 33 year-old with possession of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and trafficking a controlled substance.“There could still be more charges,” Shehovac explains. “The activity that’s been happening in Donald has been going on for a while. It was a well-established operation and numerous people are involved in this.”

He says in the years he’s been in Golden he’s taken down numerous grow operations but this was probably the most elaborate. He says it was well organized and well maintained, tucked in a cabin solely dedicated for growing the illegal substance.

Beginning on Sept. 8, RCMP seized a small amount of marijuana. The next day, Sept. 9, approximately eight pounds of marijuana was seized from a vehicle in the area of Donald Road and the Trans-Canada Highway.

Finally on Sept. 12, the Golden RCMP and Golden Traffic Services executed a warrant in Donald and seized the grow equipment used in the production, as well as the 378 plants.

“We keep the eight pounds as evidence and I received the authorization from Ottawa to burn (the 378 plants) on the same day (we discovered them). We believe there is a considerable amount of grow operations happening in Golden and we basically try to tackle it as it’s going on,” he explains, adding that in some jurisdictions, even in Golden, when an outdoor grow operation is discovered, the RCMP will simply chop the plants down.

Shehovac explains the work of investigating requires a huge commitment of manpower and time. When a detachment is small, like the one in Golden, the impact is great.

In addition to using half of their own staff, Shehovac says they borrowed a corporal - with a dog - from Kelowna, as well as a corporal from identification from Revelstoke.

“In our instance here, we decided we would take the time and conduct surveillance and see if we could put people to the grow operation and it was successful, but it was very demanding on our human resources,” he says. “I think the majority of the drugs were destined to remain in Golden and the Kootenay area . . . just with the intelligence we have. In the drug war, the battle will be constant and the demand for drugs is out there. It’s the police’s job to go and make a dent on that.

“In my opinion, it would be foolish to say we are winning the war on drugs, but for Golden, this was a major success and one battle we feel has come to a successful conclusion.”

Shehovac says this is a warning to the rest of the people who want to continue growing. He says the area in Donald will be a high priority in terms of policing.

While he won’t say how the Golden detachment was tipped off in their investigation, he does say they receive information through Crimestoppers.

He adds those who provide information through the latter, which leads to successful conclusions can receive a reward. But individuals can also choose to remain anonymous when offering information.

“Any information we get about a possible grow operation, we will look into,” Shehovac says. “But it takes a lot of leg work. We have to prove to the justice of the peace that there’s enough information to get a search warrant first. I am quite pleased with the amount of work and dedication the members involved with this investigation put into it.”

Those facing charges in connection with the grow operation could be looking at jail time.

“Now it’s in the hands of the judicial system,” Shehovac says.



News Hawk- User http://www.420Magazine.com
Source: Golden Star
Author: mardy bacigalupos
Contact: Golden Star
Copyright: 2007 Golden Star
Website: BCNG Portals Page (R)
 
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