|High Prairie RCMP uncovered a 6,500-plant marijuana operation with a street value they claimed was $6.5 million.|
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in High Prairie, Alberta, last Thursday seized 6,500 marijuana plants they claimed were worth $6.5 million and charged six men in the bust of large cannabis grow operation.
Investigators quaintly estimated the seizure “effectively removed the equivalent of more than two million marijuana joints from reaching the streets,” reports CTV News.
Plants in various stages of growth were found in 12 portable semi-circular huts, each about 200 feet (60 meters) long, 20 feet (six meters) wide and 10 feet (three meters) high, reports CBC News.
|The dozen portable huts of the grow-op contained “fairly sophisticated” light and watering systems, police say.|
The 6,500 plants were being grown on a property northwest of High Prairie, which is itself about 400 kilometers northwest of Edmonton.
Police who descended on the operation last Thursday called the operation “fairly sophisticated” in terms of concealment, location, watering and light-control systems. The suspects had reportedly built two living and cooking structures on the site.
“This is one of the largest operations in Alberta; it’s very unusual,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Barry Ledoux, comparing the operation to a similar one busted last week near Drumheller, which yielded 3,854 plants, reports Brent Wittmeier of the Edmonton Journal.
Police said natural light was used to grow the plants, and water was pumped from a nearby slough.
“Certain aspects of it were sophisticated, and yet others were very simple,” Ledoux said in a becoming fit of honesty.
The arrests culminated a month-long investigation and involved Edmonton police and “integrated forces throughout the province.”
Police would not say how they knew about the operation, but the investigation began with intelligence gathered by the High Prairie drug unit.
RCMP officers arrested six men between the ages of 25 and 45 at the scene, all of whom remain in custody.
Tri Anh Phan, 45; Guang Ping Chen, 40; Chias Haung Fei, 40; Hung Duy Hoang, 35; Cuong Viet Nguyen, 31; and Tuan Anh Tran, 25, face charges of producing marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a stolen water pump (that’s right, officers, don’t forget that pump).
The six suspects made their first appearance in a provincial court Monday morning. They will be back in court August 16.