British Columbia

Outdoor grow-op busts declining on Vancouver Island

RCMP on Vancouver Island say the size and number of outdoor marijuana grow operations they have busted this year is down significantly from previous years.
RCMP on Vancouver Island bust an outdoor marijuana grow operation at an undisclosed location. (RCMP)

RCMP on Vancouver Island say the size and number of outdoor marijuana grow operations police have busted this year is down significantly from previous years.

During the annual crackdown the RCMP and other police forces on the island pulled out more than 7,281 marijuana plants, compared with 30,072 the year before, according to Cpl. Darren Lagan.

The number of large-scale operations was significantly less than in previous years, he said. The largest operation busted this year contained 450 plants. Lagan credited the efforts of police in previous years for the reduction.

"The loss of over 30,000 plants last year alone sent a strong message to those responsible for this illegal activity. It will not be left unchecked, and we will return year after year to destroy it," he said.

Lagan said it also appeared that the cold wet spring may have impacted the size of the crop.

"Once into the sites, officers noted a marked reduction in the size of individual plants over years past. This is likely attributed to the lack of sun hours and reduced temperatures at the start of the growing season."

The integrated team of police officers also receive help from the Canadian Forces accessing some remote grow sites by military helicopters, he said.

Last year an RCMP task force in the Cariboo region of B.C. reported they seized 54,000 marijuana plants from just 27 grow-ops after police noticed a spike in the number of large operations in that area. One operation in the Prince George area busted last year contained 18,000 plants in 20 makeshift greenhouses.

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