For the second time in less than three months, the Rimbey RCMP has busted a significant marijuana grow operation in the local area.
Shortly after noon on Nov. 18, the RCMP entered a residence in Poulsen’s Estates off Highway 771 near Gull Lake where they discovered a substantial number of marijuana plants in various stages of development.
“During the execution of a search warrant, a sophisticated three-stage marijuana grow operation was identified in the residence where over 200 plants were recovered,” said Sgt. Mark Groves. “Approximately 240 marijuana plants ranging in size from small, immature plants to large plants in the budding stage were seized.”
As a result of the bust, a 38-year-old male, Kelly Pearson and 22-year-old Samantha Fiddler were arrested at the scene and subsequently charged with production of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking. The pair were later released from the custody of the court and have a pending court date of Dec. 4 in Rimbey to answer to the charges.
While the latest bust was relatively minor in comparison to an Aug. 10 raid on a rural home 19 kms. west of Rimbey that yielded over 2,300 plants, it is still very significant in the eyes of the law.
“If you were to assume that each of the 240 plants had the potential to produce buds, by doing a calculation of how much they produce, you can assume that the Rimbey RCMP took between 20,000 and 34,000 joints or marijuana cigarettes off the street with this warrant,” Groves said, adding that at a street value of around $5 per joint, the grow-op would’ve been worth more than $170,000 in value.
“Each grow operation impacts a neighbourhood differently and of course, every seizure is significant. Taking 34,000 marijuana cigarettes out of circulation in the Rimbey area or wherever they were destined certainly does make an impact on the drug world,” Groves added. “We are working diligently to reduce drugs in the community, so it is significant to those involved. Of course, it’s not as huge of a seizure as it was before, however using our resources through the community, our partners in the community, concerned citizens and the previous article on how to spot a marijuana grow-operation in your neighbourhood, we certainly received many tips through that and subsequent warrants like this certainly do affect the community, especially one the size of Rimbey.”
The previous article, which appeared in the Sept. 22 edition of the Rimbey Review, the RCMP urged the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, and by all indications, it paid off.
“I can’t speculate that the information that led to this warrant was directly correlated to that specific article, however I can say that after that article was published, a good number of tips were received,” Groves said. “Through corroborating those tips with evidence that we were able to obtain in this particular grow operation, as well as any other tips we may have received, each tip certainly is valued and every concerned citizen that phones in and gives the RCMP information that can be valued and utilized in a way that eventually leads to a warrant is certainly appreciated.”