In another bizarre twist in the story of a British Columbia marijuana grow-op that was guarded by happy, mellow bears, thieves have stolen 10 kilograms of the seized pot from police and wired it up to dynamite in a booby trap.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers tracked the stolen cannabis, which had been pilfered from a Mountie evidence locker in Grand Forks, to a home in Greenwood, B.C., reports Bill Kaufmann at the Toronto Sun.
The Grand Forks RCMP responded last week to what turned out to be a phony emergency call, and while they were gone (did all of these Dudley Do-Rights respond to the call?) someone broke into their evidence room and made off with the marijuana, according to Sgt. Jim Harrison.
|An RCMP officer poses with two of the bears found at a marijuana grow-op in British Columbia. The bears were quite friendly and wanted to lay on top of investigating officers’ patrol cars.|
Some of the stolen marijuana had been confiscated three weeks ago from a garden of more than 1,000 plants near Christina Lake, B.C., that also turned up more than a dozen friendly black bears who had apparently been fed dog food for years.
Last Thursday, the intrepid Mounties tracked the stolen cannabis to a home in nearby Greenwood, where they said they found the pot secured with 19 sticks of dynamite hooked up to homemade fuses.
“The suspects had actually taped a bundle of 15 sticks together with a homemade-style fuse,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, reports CBC News. “Two sticks were wrapped together with a homemade fuse, and a third bundle of two sticks of dynamite as well were located.”
A surveillance system with a view of the front gate, hooked to a 36-inch TV inside, guarded the residence, according to officers.
Mounties said the dynamite — believed to come from a mining operation — was detonated safely.
James Douglas, 35, has been charged with possession of stolen property and explosives. A loaded shotgun, two rifles and a grenade where also found on the premises, according to RCMP.
Mounties said they are still looking for two other suspects. Officers said the alleged thieves have no connection to the original bear-guarded marijuana grow.
Charges have yet to be laid against the Christina Lake couple where the bears and marijuana garden were found. The planned destruction of the black bears due to their supposed “inability to adapt to wilderness feeding” has sparked an international outcry to save them.
Conservation officers could set up feeding stations to lure the bears back to the wild while weaning them from human handouts, according to B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner.
“We are hoping the bears will move off and disperse on their own,” Penner said. “If they don’t, we’re willing to try and encourage them to do that.”
Penner admitted that if these relocation efforts fail, it may still be necessary for conservation officers to kill the bears.
A Facebook site set up by a Edmonton woman has collected about 2,500 names on a petition urging that the marijuana bears not be destroyed.