Police bust major marijuana grow-operation
Toronto police said they dismantled a major marijuana grow-op and distribution network that involved dozens of homes and 20 suspects.
Dubbed "Project O'Clone," the police probe lasted for almost one year and involved local officers and others from the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Peel and York police.
At a string of 39 homes throughout the GTA, officers allege they found thousands of marijuana plants being grown.
In total, police say they seized $25 million worth of the illegal drug.
By the numbers, the bust resulted in:
- Eleven arrests;
- Fifty-two charges; and
- Nine arrest warrants for other suspects.
Police also allege that two businesses, their owners and employees worked together to distribute the plants and launder the money. The businesses allegedly involved were Can Tech Inc. on Finch Avenue East and Can Tech Distribution on McAdam Drive in Mississauga.
Investigators also say they seized "a large quantity" of Canadian and American cash, plus computers, marijuana growing equipment and documents during the execution of search warrants.
Most of the people arrested are facing possession and trafficking charges. Other charges include conspiracy and laundering the proceeds of crime.
Police praised their own efforts in a written statement released on Friday, saying the "grow-operations can occur in any area," and that "no single law enforcement agency can work alone."
"This is an excellent example of the Toronto Police Service's continuing efforts to create safer communities by working with our partners to combat illegal marijuana grow−operations," Toronto Police Staff Insp. Don Campbell said in the statement.
The grow-ops were spread across neighbourhoods throughout the city.
"Not here, take your business somewhere else, we don't need you here," Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis, who had a grow-op in his neighbourhood, said on Friday.
Karygiannis called on Ottawa to set mandatory sentences for people caught running grow-ops.
At the same time as officers were outlining the GTA bust, details of another grow-op uprooted in Zephyr, Ont., were becoming known.
Officers from Durham and York regional police forces searched a home on Wednesday and uncovered 800 marijuana plants drying in the basement.
Another 420 plants were found in a building outside the home and 16 kilograms of harvested marijuana were found in a building on the property.
Six adults and one youth were arrested. An infant found in the home was handed over to the care of the Children's Aid Society.
With reports from CTV's John Lancaster, Paul Bliss and files from The Canadian Press