Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pair charged after three south Winnipeg grow-ops raided

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A man and a woman were taken into custody early Tuesday morning for operating marijuana grow-ops in three Winnipeg homes.

The homes are in the south-east area of Winnipeg: in the 100 block of Prairie Smoke Drive, the 100 block of Breton Bay and the 400 block of De La Seigneurie Boulevard.

The arrests netted 649 plants in the Prairie Smoke residence with a reported street value of $726,880 in addition to a half-pound of dried marijuana worth $1,500 and grow equipment with an estimated value of $20,000. The Breton Bay residence held 577 plants with an estimated street value of $646,240, 12 ounces of dried pot worth $2,250 and more equipment valued at $20,000. A car was also seized.

The third residence at De la Seigneurie Blvd. yielded $3,700 in Canadian currency.

The 56-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were taken without incident and will be facing charges including production of controlled substance, possessing substance for the purposes of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime. Both have been released to appear in court at a later date.

Police say both the man and the woman were from Winnipeg, and knew each other.

The arrests came after members of the Grow Operation Unit entered into a lengthy investigation, resulting in a raid Tuesday morning by the Grow Op unit, members of the Tactical Support Team, the Street Crime Unit, and East District uniform officers.

Det. Sgt. Natalie Aitken of the Winnipeg Police Service said the operations were very sophisticated. The value of the equipment, as well as the fact that none of the grow-ops illegally stole electricity were signs that operations were expertly done.

"These are very significant grow operations, in terms of the number of plants, the excess amount of equipment," Aitken said.

"It would have been an elaborate system in both of (the residences)," she said.

Aikten said the WPS uses tips from neighbours in investigations like these. Rarely will neighbours notice a smell if a grow operation is located in the neighbourhood, she said. The signs are usually visual.

"Individuals are coming at all hours. Or a fairly large house is not being occupied at all. That’s sometimes hard to tell in summer ... In the wintertime we say watch for condensation on one side of the house," Aitken said.

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