A seven-week investigation targeting those responsible for outdoor marihuana grows in Durham Region has resulted in 32 arrests, 11 firearms seized and over $10 million in plants eradicated.
Project Mosquito 2 followed the success of last year’s similar project, which resulted in 22 arrests, one firearm seized and over $14 million in plants eradicated.
Every fall, law enforcement agencies are made aware of or detect outdoor marihuana plants growing inside corn fields, in green spaces and in backyard gardens. Canada’s marihuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and many municipalities have been home to large scale outdoor marihuana grows in the past decade.
Traditionally, when law enforcement agencies discover the plants, the marihuana is harvested and destroyed. For the second year, the DRPS Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) developed a coordinated enforcement approach to determine who was responsible. A seven-week, proactive campaign began in late August, named Project Mosquito 2, which focused on those responsible for producing the plants.
Members of the DEU, with support from uniform Divisional officers, identified and investigated marihuana grows in each municipality. With the assistance of our helicopter, Air 1 and through citizen tips and other investigative avenues, a total of 55 different grows were discovered. Highlights include:
• 32 persons charged with 135 offences
• 11 firearms seized (three handguns and eight long guns)
• 8,583 marihuana plants discovered, with a projected street value of over $10 million
• 38 lbs of dried marihuana worth $75,000
• $18,645 cash seized
Other notable incidents:
(11-160272) A search warrant at a property on Trulls Road in Courtice, where 51 plants were located outdoors with another 118 indoors. The accused was also in possession of seven litres of cannabis resin worth $55,000. Three improperly stored firearms were located in the residence including a loaded rifle in close proximity to the accused upon arrest.
(11-181245) One of the largest individual grows involved 472 plants, in a wooded area near Salem Road and Rossland Road in Ajax. One male was arrested as part of this investigation.
(11- 185384) A very small crop of four plants was located at a Roosevelt Avenue address in Ajax. A search of the residence revealed two illegally possessed .38 cal handguns, one located under the mattress.
Investigators also confirmed that the outdoor plants were all started indoors during the winter and were then transplanted outdoors in the spring, so they could continue growing in a non-incriminating location. Corn fields are a favoured location as farmers would not even be aware of the illegal activity in their fields if they were farming multiple acres.
If you have information about the illegal production of marihuana in Durham Region, please contact the DEU at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5802.
Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.durhamcrimestoppers.ca and tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000.
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