ALERT Green Team cranks up the heat on grow ops during chilly November

ALERT Green Team cranks up the heat on grow ops during chilly November

December 4, 2012

Busts include seizure of over $2 million in marihuana from rural grow op in northern Alberta

Edmonton…November proved busy for ALERT’s Green Team North after members successfully weeded out several grow operations in Edmonton and northern Alberta, leading to charges against a number of people and over $3 million in marihuana.

Early in the month, Green Team North, an integrated team made up of Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and RCMP members, executed a search warrant at a rural property in Round Lake. Round Lake is just over 100 kilometres west of Edmonton in Parkland County. There police found 2,233 marihuana plants, valued at over $2 million if sold on the street. The RCMP Emergency Response Team, the Evansburg RCMP Detachment and Edson Forensic Identification Section provided assistance. Two people were arrested inside a Quonset that had been redeveloped into a two-story grow operation.

Police uncovered a number of items signaling the operation’s sophistication. This includes 81 high-intensity lights and 10 commercial forced air furnaces with cooling units to regulate the temperature. The operation was facilitated by a natural gas bypass that ran underground for hundreds of feet and was connected to two industrial generators that powered the grow. The generators were concealed inside outbuildings framed with several walls of insulation and drywall, suppressing their sound.

Of the 2,233 plants, nearly 800 were ready for harvest, with a potential yield of 125 lbs. of processed marihuana. Beyond the plants, police also seized $125,000 in growing equipment, a vehicle and a skid steer.

As a result, the following people are charged with production of marihuana, possession for the purpose of trafficking and theft of natural gas:

  • Mohamed MUSTAFA, age 32, of Edmonton;
  • Leslie SHERART, age 43, of Leduc; and
  • Kenneth YOUNGMAN, age 31, of Edmonton.

Then in mid-November, two men already on bail stemming from a previous Green Team investigation were charged again after police executed a search warrant at 10637 – 98 Street in Edmonton and seized 62 plants from a small marihuana grow operation. The accused allegedly concealed the stairway leading to the operation by nailing plywood to the floor. Police also found another small grow operation and approximately 17 lbs. of processed marihuana while searching a unit at 9909 – 104 Street. As a result of this investigation, the following Edmonton residents were charged:

  • Quyen CHEN, age 52, is charged with two counts of production of marihuana, two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and a breach of a recognizance.
  • Minh CHUNG, age 36, is charged with production of marihuana, possession of marihuana for the purpose of trafficking, and breach of a recognizance.

During the last week of November, the team targeted an organized crime group and executed related search warrants at five different properties in north Edmonton, all of which housed marihuana grow operations. In total, police seized 411 plants valued at over $500,000 if sold on the street and nearly 23 lbs. of processed marihuana, with an estimated street value of over $100,000. The team also seized over $25,000 in cash and a vehicle.

  • Grand LUU, age 27, is charged with three counts of production of a controlled substance, three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and one count of possession of property obtained by crime exceeding $5,000.
  • Vincent WONG, age 39, is charged with three counts of production of a controlled substance, three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and one count of possession of property obtained by crime exceeding $5,000.
  • Chi Han CHIU, age 35, is charged with production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Charges are still pending against two women related to this investigation.

That same week, the team assisted the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment with an 84-plant marihuana grow operation in Sherwood Park. This investigation was as a result of a citizen tip and led to drug trafficking charges against a 28-year-old Sherwood Park resident, David CHEVALIER.

“Grow ops compromise the safety of communities across Alberta,” said Green Team North’s A/Sgt. Ray Savage. “We are committed to eliminating the serious risks associated with grow ops in both urban and rural areas and will continue following up on every tip and working with our partners to do just that.”

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

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.