Re: Are all Police Officers Criminals?
FREDERICTON (CP) - Police in New Brunswick say the seizure of more than 40,000 marijuana plants in the past few days is proof that Asian crime lords are moving their operations east.
Raids in the rural New Brunswick communities of Adamsville, Fredericton Junction and Millville this week have uncovered large marijuana grow operations and resulted in the arrests of five people.
The raid in Adamsville, near Moncton, N.B., netted over 20,000 plants - one of the largest outdoor grow-op seizures in Canadian history.
Add to that a recent bust in Torbrook, N.S., where 9,000 marijuana plants were taken and RCMP officials say it adds up to a major geographical shift for Asian organized crime.
"We call it the green tide," said RCMP Staff. Sgt. Bob Power at a Fredericton news conference on Thursday.
"We've seen a proliferation of marijuana grow-ops move from West to East over the past three to five years."
Power said the RCMP investigation of the New Brunswick grow-ops will involve individuals in other Canadians cities as well as in Hong Kong and mainland China.
"These organizations have links right back to Asian countries," he said.
Two of the five people arrested are the subject of Immigration Canada investigations. The Chinese nationals are both under deportation orders.
Power said it's likely Asian crime families have been driven to provinces like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia because of intensive law enforcement in the West.
He said it's expected more fields will be discovered in New Brunswick.
Police consider British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario the top three provinces for grow-ops. In Ontario, police estimate the illegal grow houses bring in $12.7 billion a year in revenue.
The RCMP in Fredericton is appealing to the public for help in identifying suspicious activities, in rural areas and in suburban homes - another favorite location for the illegal marijuana operations.
Power said he has been in contact with NB Power to ask the utility to watch for unusual electricity consumption patterns.
As well, realtors in the province are asked to be on the look-out for foreigners anxious to buy large tracts of land in remote areas.
He said the grow-ops are hard to stop.
"The potential for profits is extremely high, the risk of detection is relatively low and the punitive measures are not an issue for organized crime," he said.
The biggest overall seizure ever in Canada was 25,000 plants taken after police found a huge marijuana grow-op inside a former Molson brewery near Barrie, Ont. last year.
While the grow-ops have been moving East, they also have been heading north in Ontario where pot growers are taking advantage of rural opportunities.
More than 21,000 marijuana plants were seized earlier this summer from behind a home in Iroquois Falls, Ont., about 70 kilometres northeast of Timmins.
"We're seeing a trend where we see grow operators across the province move further north, and increase in size," Det.-Insp. Frank Elbers of the Ontario Provincial Police said after the Timmins raid.
"The most alarming thing is the size of the grows we're seeing."
Elbers said he wouldn't be surprised to find that the trend, now so noticeable in Ontario, is also prevalent in Quebec.
Power said profits from grow-ops are used to fuel other crimes, such as the smuggling of illegal aliens and firearms.
He said that although Asian crime gangs are linked to the most recent grow-op discoveries in New Brunswick, traditional organized crime, Eastern European mobs and motorcycle gangs are also involved in the lucrative business.
"It is a symptom of a much larger problem that the police have identified not only in New Brunswick but across Canada," Power said.
"It is the safety of our homes and our communities here that concerns the police and should concern all citizens, safety from organized crime."