Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Abandoned theatre was home to grow op

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A sleepy-looking abandoned theatre in Grenfell, Sask., turned out to have a different kind of "production" going on when RCMP officers busted a sophisticated marijuana grow operation there on Wednesday.

Two people were arrested on drug charges in the raid on the former Windsor Theatre, which looks like something out of TV's Corner Gas.

Inside, officers found more than 400 marijuana plants, as well as about five kilograms of cultivated marijuana ready for distribution. There was an automated system to support the plants.

The investigation has a Manitoba connection. It started Tuesday, when Canadian officers at the Goodlands, Man., border crossing arrested a man and seized drugs.

Border authorities contacted the Saskatchewan RCMP with information that led to a warrant to search the theatre. Grenfell is located about 125 kilometres east of Regina.

An employee at the Grenfell town office said the former theatre is part of the historic Windsor Block, which also contains apartments that have not been rented out since last spring. The theatre started as a vaudeville house -- the Marx Brothers performed there -- and was apparently a cinema from 1913 until some time in the 1960s.

Luc Bernard D'Abadie, 29, from Calgary, and Erika Miljkovic, 55, from Grenfell, are charged with producing a drug for the purpose of trafficking.

D'Abadie was arrested at the border. Miljkovic was arrested in Grenfell during the execution of the search warrant. Both are to appear in Yorkton Provincial Court today.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2010 A11

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