Police in Richmond Hill seized at least 600 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of over $1 million from a farmer’s cornfield Friday morning in the latest in a series of raids.


York Regional Police officers seize 600 pot plants from a farm in Richmond Hill on Friday. (Michelle Cheung/CBC)

York Regional police say this is the 23rd outdoor grow-operation they’ve dismantled over the last three weeks. Their efforts have unearthed about 2,000 plants in total with a street value estimated at $2 million. 

The raids have included farms in all five York Region districts — King Township, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Markham, East Gwillimbury and Richmond Hill.

Friday's raid uncovered mature, budding plants that police say were "ready for harvest." Each plant could have yielded three to four ounces of dried marijuana.

The grow-op was discovered in the middle of a cornfield by a police helicopter. Many drug traffickers grow pot in cornfields to hide the shorter marijuana plants amid the corn stalks.  

Police say the farmers who rent or own the fields are not involved in the grow-operations. Instead police are looking at organized crime.

"Today is not about those who feel that our government should revisit laws about simple possession," Sgt. Clint Whitney told reporters Friday as they searched the property in Richmond Hill. "Today is about large-scale drug trafficking brought on by large scale production."

No arrests have been made in the recent raids. Police say they wanted to seize the plants immediately to keep them off the streets.