19 arrested and multiple charges laid in illegal cannabis production bust: OPP
Flowering marijuana plants are pictured during a tour of Tweed in Smiths Falls, Ontario on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Police seized more than 20,000 cannabis plants and 1,400 pounds of processed cannabis with an estimated value of over $18 million from illegal grow operations in Leamington and Kingsville.
On Wednesday around 8 a.m. the OPP-led Provincial Joint Force Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET) executed five Cannabis Act search warrants at three greenhouses and two residences on County Road 34 and County Road 31 In Kingsville and Seacliff Drive in Leamington.
"The proliferation of illegal marihuana grow operations, as evidenced by this recent significant seizure in Leamington and Kingsville, demonstrates the resolve by criminal enterprise groups to profit from illegal activity,” says OPP Essex County detachment commander, inspector Glenn Miller. “To those individuals or groups who continue to profit from these illegal grow operations, the OPP will relentlessly pursue your interests, seize your property and introduce you into the criminal justice system."
PJFCET, Essex County OPP, Essex County Crime Unit, OPP Regional Community Street Crime Units (CSCU), members of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau (POIB) seized more than 20,000 cannabis plants, over 1400 pounds of processed cannabis, a quantity of Canadian currency and cannabis processing equipment.
Police say the total value of seized cannabis is estimated to be more than $18 million.
PJFCET is responsible for enforcing cannabis laws and investigating criminal enterprises that exploit or abuse the legal cannabis market.
Officers arrested 19 people between the three locations in relation to the illegal operations in Leamington and Kingsville.
Charges include possessing cannabis for the purpose of selling, cultivate or harvest any cannabis plant at a place that is not their dwelling-house, and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000.
Police say the accused will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Leamington at a later date.
The investigation is ongoing.