Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Former Mr. Canada facing charges after Polo Park grow-op busted

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A four-time Mr. Canada winner is again facing charges for marijuana production and trafficking, this time in connection with what police are calling a "sophisticated," million-dollar grow-op.

Garry Reid Schindle, 62, and Devron Theodore Lee, 36, were arrested Thursday morning after police executed a search warrant in the 500 block of Madison Street, a mostly commercial street near Polo Park mall. Police seized more than $1-million worth of marijuana plants.

Beginning in 1978, Reid Schindle won the Mr. Canada body building contest four years running. He also competed in the Mr. Universe competition, placing second in 1980.

Family confirmed Saturday Reid Schindle's first name is Garry.

The bust happened following a lengthy joint investigation between the province's Safe Neighbourhoods initiative and Winnipeg police. Inside the Madison Street building, officers found a pot-growing operation with $65,000 of equipment.

They also seized eight one-pound bags of marijuana, which are worth $20,000 on the street, and 987 marijuana plants. The plants are worth $1,105,440 on the street, police said.

In 1998, Schindle was charged with marijuana production and trafficking after Steinbach RCMP found more than 5,000 pot plants and hydroponic equipment inside a farm building on Schindle's property west of Blumenort.

At the time, RCMP called it one of the largest grow-ops ever uncovered in Manitoba.

Charges, however, were stayed amid concerns the RCMP improperly searched Schindle's farm.

Acting on a tip about an outdoor grow operation at the farm, officers on more than one occasion searched Schindle's property without first obtaining a search warrant, according to Free Press reports.

Schindle's lawyer in that case, Sheldon Pinx, could not be reached Saturday evening.

Schindle and Lee have been charged with producing marijuana and possessing it for the purpose of trafficking. They were released on a promise to appear.


-- with files from Matt Preprost

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 15, 2012 A3

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