Community in 'disbelief' after police seize $7.3 million of cannabis in largest Chatham-Kent bust
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A small farming community in Chatham-Kent is shocked after learning of a record breaking pot bust in their neighbourhood.
There were 7,300 mature plants that filled a greenhouse in Chatham before police dismantled and seized the crop last week.
“To give you some perspective, it took about two-dozen officers three days to dismantle the illegal drug operation,” said Renee Cowell public information officer with Chatham-Kent police.
In total, police say they recovered $7.3 million worth of ready to harvest cannabis from a greenhouse on Maynard Line, the largest bust Chatham-Kent municipality has ever seen.
Area councillor Mary Clare Latimer spoke out Tuesday on behalf of residents.
“I think the first feeling, was one of disbelief, and then quickly turned to betrayal and anger,” she said.
Police will not confirm the location as it is an active investigation. Councillor Latimer lives close to the North Harwich facility. Multiple neighbours say the greenhouse was surrounded by police Sept. 16.
Latimer says they don’t condone this type of alleged activity in their community.
“They couldn’t believe that this complex illegal operation could operate right under our noses in our backyard,” she said.
Latimer also points out this is a former family-run greenhouse, which has since changed hands multiple times over the past two years.
“It’s a good hardworking community and I would hate for people in the public outside of Chatham-Kent to think that the farming community it anything otherwise than diligent, honest, hardworking and good stewards of the land,” she said.
According to Chatham-Kent officials, the federal government does not need to notify the municipality what’s being grown on site — depending on the nature of the operation.
Latimer says that’s why residents need to be diligent, and when in doubt, call police.
“We want to encourage any rural property owner if they suspect or think perhaps something is going on that wouldn’t be, don’t hesitate to contact Crime Stoppers and/or the police department directly,” she said.
Police say the investigation remains ongoing and charges are pending.
CTV News requested comment from a person who was identified as the owner of the facility who declined to respond to our request.