OPP Warning Public of Dangers of Illegal Marihuana Grow-Ops
ORILLIA, ON, May 26, 2011 /CNW/ - As the planting season has arrived,
the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU)
is pro-actively warning Ontario residents and visitors of the dangers
associated with marihuana grow-ops.
In 2010, OPP DEU and its partners investigated 586 indoor and outdoor
marihuana grows, destroying 218,168 marihuana plants in various areas
of the province. Another 2,190 kilograms of dried marihuana was
confiscated, bringing the total value of seized marihuana to
258-million dollars. Officers also uncovered a solar-powered electric
fence used to ward off the unsuspecting public, police, and so-called "pot pirates". There were also eight children - ranging in age from one to 12 years
- found near various grow operations, as well as playground equipment
at one particular grow.
Police continue to warn the public about the increasing threat to public
and police officer safety posed by the expansion of marihuana
cultivation in Ontario. Marihuana grown in Ontario is typically
distributed throughout the province and exported to the United States.
Stronger drugs, such as cocaine, as well as weapons and cash often
return to Ontario to fuel other criminal enterprises, which further
endanger public safety.
The OPP Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) is alerting the public to the
dangers associated with outdoor marihuana grow operations.
During the late Spring and Summer months each year, people involved with
growing illegal marihuana head into rural areas to start and care for,
in some cases, very large plots of marihuana plants. Typically, these
illicit crops are located in swamps, corn fields, wooded areas, along
rivers and on rural, rental properties with large acreage.
Marihuana plants are bright green in colour and grow to between three
and five feet in height. Marihuana leaves have seven jagged fingers
and the plants give off a strong, pungent, musty odour. Common
indicators of outdoor marihuana grow operations include:
Abandoned vehicles parked on side roads or trails.
People observed walking in remote areas for no apparent reason.
Bags of fertilizer, planting trays or chemicals located in remote areas.
Well-trampled trails in wooded or swamp areas.
Cleared out areas in swamps, wooded areas or corn fields.
Numerous "No Trespassing" signs appear out of nowhere.
Typically, marihuana crops will be harvested starting as early as late
August up until the beginning of October.
There are numerous safety risks of which the public should be wary.
These risks include the potential presence of criminals, weapons and
ammunition found on grow-op sites, and the potential for booby traps,
rigged by the criminals growing these plants in an attempt to defend
their illegal crops from other criminals known as 'pot pirates'. All
of these factors could lead to dangerous confrontations for
unsuspecting, innocent people - including children - who just happen to
be in the area of these illegal crops.
Another risk that the OPP wants to highlight is environmental. These
criminal operations usually involve the unregulated use of many
chemicals and other environmentally-damaging products.
Public Safety Tips
If you discover or suspect an outdoor marihuana grow operation:
As soon as possible, call your local police or Crime Stoppers.
Do not touch the marihuana plants due to potential chemical residue on
If confronted by a marihuana grower, leave the area immediately and
If possible and safe to do so, record any license plate or GPS
information and notify police.
In some cases, outdoor marihuana grows are guarded or protected by
booby- traps. If you discovered a crop of marihuana plants, do not
enter the area! For your personal safety, turn around and immediately
leave the area the same way you came in.
If you have any information regarding illegal marihuana grow ops,
contact your local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
"We remain strongly committed to work within all of our communities
across the province to stem the tide of illicit drugs. OPP members, and
those of our law enforcement partners, continue to put themselves at
risk to bring those associated with criminal organizations to justice.
- Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
"The OPP remains committed and aggressive in its enforcement and
eradication programs, which significantly impact the amount of
marihuana available to organized crime groups. This helps to reduce
crime and enhance public safety for the citizens of Ontario."
-- Det. Staff Sgt. Rick Hawley, Manager - Drug Enforcement Unit, OCEB
To view/download photos and video of marihuana grow-ops and OPP
eradication, click here.
Follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/OPP_News
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Contacts by OPP Region:
| Central Region: || || Constable Peter Leon || || Phone: (705) 329-7414 |
| East Region: || || Sergeant Kristine Rae || || Phone: (613) 284-4557 |
| Northeast Region: || || Det. Staff Sgt. Tony Fletcher || || Phone: (705) 840-3063 |
| Northwest Region: || || Sergeant Shelley Garr || || Phone: (807) 473-2734 |
| West Region: || || Sergeant Dave Rektor || || Phone: (519) 652-4156 |