Durham police have seized more than $50 million in illegal marijuana plants and shut down 18 growing operations.
The fall drug sweep, named Project Mosquito, resulted in 30 arrests over the past few months, 66 charges and the seizure of three rifles. In addition to the 41,880 marijuana plants seized, which is valued at $50.26 million, investigators also seized 111,130 grams of marijuana, 1,723 grams of hashish as well as hashish oil and honey oil. The total value of all drugs seized was $51.63 million.
Over the past two months, police executed 17 warrants at outdoor growing operations and one indoor operation. The largest location was at Concession Road 4 near Goodwood, where 9,826 plants were seized. The second largest was on McKee Road in Blackstock, where 7,465 plants were seized, as well as three long guns.
Although the private growers had licenses from Health Canada to grow marijuana for medical purposes, the crops far exceeded the approved limit. In one case, an operation was licensed to grow 1,023 indoor plants but 9,826 plants were discovered. Police say it doesn’t appear that any monitoring of these private growing operations had occurred.
“The monitoring of individual licensed growers is clearly not happening on a scale required,” says Detective Brad Corner of the DRPS Drug Enforcement Unit. “In order to keep an eye on these operations, someone needs to check on them at least once during the growing season, and that just isn’t happening.”
Investigators are concerned that most of the excess marijuana makes its way to the U.S., where it is exchanged for guns and other, harder drugs, which supplies criminal gangs in Canada with drugs and dangerous weapons.
Anyone with new information about this investigation is asked to contact the DRPS drug unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 4378.