THUNDER BAY – The efforts of police services to combat illegal drugs is gaining support from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP who are working, in Thunder Bay along with the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Nishanawbe Aski Police (NAPS) are looking for help from the public in an effort to halt marijuana grow operations.
In Thunder Bay, The City Drug Unit is made up of members from the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police. Each police agency supports the partnership and cooperative approach to drug enforcement and interdiction through sharing of resources, personnel and
expertise whose membership is kept through a protocol with the involved partner police agencies.
The mandate of the Drug Unit is to target those persons involved in the illegal possession and trafficking of controlled substances and precursors. Drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and Oxycodone are some of substances seized in 2010. The Unit also responds to community complaints, concerns identified by the Thunder Bay Police Service, as well as anonymous tips supplied through the Crime Stoppers Program involving illegal drug activity. The Thunder Bay Police Service also supports outside police agencies by having an experienced drug investigator assigned to a regional drug enforcement unit.
In a statement issued earlier today the RCMP say they are “Standing united with the Government of Canada, and its business and community partners to launch the RCMP’s national strategy to combat marihuana grow operations (MGOs) entitled the Marijuana Grow Initiative (MGI)”.
“Marijuana grow operations pose a serious threat to Canadians, the safety of our communities and the law enforcement officers fighting against these illegal operations,” said Shelly Glover, Member of Parliament for St. Boniface on behalf of the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety. “The Government of Canada is taking action to combat illicit marijuana cultivation in Canada, as well the organized crime elements behind it.”
Complimentary to the National Anti-Drug Strategy, the MGI was developed in collaboration with subject matter experts from across the country and represents the RCMP’s renewed commitment to fight marijuana production controlled by organized crime groups.
Based on three key components: Awareness, Deterrence and Enforcement; the MGI outlines how the RCMP will work with partners and community members. It helps inform the Canadian public about the consequences, inherent hazards and destructive impacts these activities and criminal groups have on their communities.
“MGOs harm communities. Wherever they exist, there’s the potential for an increase in criminal activity and a greater chance of fire, explosions, and violence,” stated RCMP A/Commr. Mike Cabana. “This initiative is part of the RCMP’s renewed commitment and priority to combat marihuana production controlled by organized crime groups.”
The RCMP have launched a new page on the RCMP website that will act as a centralized database of residences where a MGO or clandestine lab was dismantled by the RCMP under the authority of a search warrant. This site will be consistently updated with new properties and it will also provide guidance and feature resources for landlords and buyers alike concerning the damages that MGOs and clandestine labs have on a property and its occupants. (www.rcmp.ca.
“IBC shares the concerns of the RCMP and we have some clear advice for property owners on how to prevent grow ops from taking root in their homes and buildings” says Ralph Palumbo, VP, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Property insurance is not designed to cover the destruction and loss resulting from an illegal marihuana grow operation. It is not an accident or a random act of violence, like a break-in or damage caused by a storm.”
“Grow ops have become a major concern for homebuyers and REALTORS® across the country. REALTORS® are committed to protecting the interests of our clients and believe that buyers should be able to determine whether a house for sale has housed a grow op in the past, stated Gary Morse, CREA President. The structural integrity and inhabitability of such houses may be compromised and prospective buyers need to know that costly remediation may be needed to correct health and safety issues.”
If you have information about a MGO in your neighborhood, you can anonymously supply information by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).