Leamington Farm Raid Part of Large-Scale Police Drug Busts Across Southern Ontario

Article by Jennifer La Grassa, Windsor Star

Leamington farm raid part of large-scale police drug busts across southern Ontario JENNIFER LA GRASSA Marijuana plants. ANTHONY BOLANTE / REUTERS

A farm in Leamington was “one of the bigger” raids in a massive series of drug busts for illicit production and trafficking across southern Ontario that was led by York Regional Police.

Police seized 7,000 illegal marijuana plants from a Leamington farm through Project Moon — a year-long York Regional Police investigation into illegal drug operations by an alleged Asian drug ring based in Vaughan, north of Toronto. Police performed 24 simultaneous raids on July 24 and retrieved more than 20,000 illegal marijuana plants, along with other synthetic drugs, according to a York Regional Police press release, and have laid charges against more than 40 people.

“These were people who had licences under the medical regime to produce for medical reasons,” said Det. Insp. Jim Walker, who is the lead of the Ontario Provincial Police’s provincial joint forces cannabis enforcement team.

Those operating the illegal production were alleged to have bought or leased medical marijuana licences to grow more than the regulated amount of cannabis and then used the revenue to fund the production of other synthetic drugs, said Walker, whose team was responsible for the raid in Leamington.

“They had a number of licences to one property where they could grow massive amounts of cannabis and not one stitch of that was being used for anybody for medical purposes,” Walker said.

An ongoing investigation seeks to determine the medical marijuana licence holders.

In a video from York Regional Police, aerial footage of property and greenhouses are from a raided location in Leamington, said Const. Andy Pattenden of York Regional Police.

“There seems to be a lack of oversight from a Health Canada perspective to ensure that people who are authorized to grow are actually growing and growing within the confines of their permit,” Walker said, adding that he doesn’t think any other substances were retrieved in Leamington.

The OPP and Toronto Police Service helped carry out the 24 raids across southern Ontario that led to the recovery of other drugs and property.

Police retrieved more than 560 kilograms of dried cannabis — most of which was packaged and ready to be shipped, with evidence that it was headed to the United States.

Read the full article here.

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