ALERT Green Team and partners come together to weed out grow ops

ALERT Green Team and partners come together to weed out grow ops

October 31, 2012

Police asking the public to be on the lookout and report suspicious activity

Edmonton…The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s (ALERT) Green Team North, the Edmonton Police Service, the RCMP and Crime Stoppers Edmonton & Northern Alberta are reminding residents to be on the lookout for marihuana grow operations this winter.

Green Team North is an integrated team made up of Edmonton Police Service and RCMP members who work together to investigate and dismantle marihuana grow operations across northern Alberta. Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, ALERT seized more than 57,000 marihuana plants, valued at just over $69 million if sold at the street level.

“We start to see an increase in indoor grow ops this time of year,” said Green Team’s A/Sgt. Ray Savage, “Along with our partners, we want to continue raising awareness about this issue because these operations endanger communities across Alberta.”

One way the partners are raising awareness is with a newly wrapped Green Team North van that will travel throughout urban and rural northern Alberta when police investigate and dismantle grow operations.

Marihuana grow operations present significant safety hazards in urban and rural Alberta. Often, ALERT’s Green Teams uncover electrical bypasses, which are commonly used to acquire the large amount of power needed for a grow operation and are extreme fire hazards. Residences that house marihuana grow operations are also often deemed unfit for human habitation due to water damage, ventilation issues and mold.

“The public plays an important role in the fight against illegal grow ops, with many of our investigations stemming from an observant citizen’s anonymous tip,” continued A/Sgt. Savage. “We follow up on every tip and want to encourage the public to continue reporting suspicious activity so that we can reduce the harm these operations bring to our communities.”

The following are potential signs that a marihuana grow operation may be in your community:

  • occupants of the home are rarely seen, distant or secretive;
  • windows are covered with black plastic, newspaper or heavy curtains;
  • condensation on windows, frost build-up on eaves and vents during winter, lack of snow on roof;
  • sound of electrical generators or fans;
  • lights that are much brighter than normal home lighting;
  • “skunky” smell of marihuana;
  • unusual traffic at the home at odd times of the day or night;
  • unusual piles of garbage, such as fertilizer containers, pots, and soil left beside the house;
  • garbage is never or rarely laid out for collection;
  • the residents are rarely seen taking groceries or other items, such as furniture, into the home;
  • the property has excessive security (cameras, guard dogs, “keep out” signs, high fences, etc.); and
  • evidence of tampering to the electric metre (damaged or broken seals) or the ground around it.

To report suspicious activity or a suspected marihuana grow operation in your community, contact police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). For information on how to spot a marihuana grow operation, visit www.alert-ab.ca/growops

Crime Stoppers is a community crime prevention organization that rewards anonymous tipsters while supporting law enforcement partners to solve and stop crime. Crime Stoppers is a strong, vibrant organization that is not funded by the government but relies entirely on private corporations and the public’s financial support.

CFSEU-Edmonton is an ALERT team established and funded by the Government of Alberta to bring together the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources to tackle serious and organized crime. Over 400 municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs work for ALERT.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
A/Sgt. Ray Savage
CFSEU-Edmonton Green Team
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-720-2211

Jill Baird
Communications
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-509-3028

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.