Green Team takes to the sky to tackle rural marihuana grow ops

Green Team takes to the sky to tackle rural marihuana grow ops

September 5, 2012

Edmonton…As part of Operation SABOT, an RCMP marihuana eradication program conducted annually across Canada, ALERT’s Green Team North took to the sky during the month of August targeting rural outdoor marihuana grow operations. The Department of National Defence assisted the operation by providing transportation aboard their helicopters.

Green Team North, an integrated team made up of Edmonton Police Service and RCMP members, covered the northern part of the province, reaching as far west as the British Columbia boundary and east into northwestern Saskatchewan. As a result, 3,578 marihuana plants were seized from three rural grow operations.

The largest marihuana grow operation was located in Valleyview, Alberta. Valleyview RCMP and Green Team members executed a search warrant on a rural property and discovered both indoor and outdoor grow operations. In total, 2,984 plants were seized.

A steel building on the property housed the indoor grow operation and was equipped with high intensity lights, a diesel generator, and a sophisticated odor masking filtration system.

Three area residents present at the time of the search were arrested without incident. Bradley Besler, age 27, Darren Besler, age 27, and Lukas Hopkins, age 24, were charged with production and possession for the purpose of trafficking marihuana.

Two additional grow operations were located in the Leoville and Mervin areas of Saskatchewan. Between the two properties, investigators seized a total of 584 marihuana plants.

“People often ask why we go after marihuana grow operations. They see them as harmless, but they are anything but,” said Acting Sergeant Ray Savage. “Not only are they a major revenue source for organized crime groups, they are also a safety hazard.”

Hazards associated with outdoor marihuana grow operations include booby traps to protect the crop, the introduction of growth enhancing chemicals and pesticides to undeveloped lands, the interference with rural water sources, and increased risk of crime-related violence.

The public is reminded to watch for signs of a marihuana grow operation and report tips to local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. To learn more about how to spot a grow operation, visit

Operation SABOT is part of the National Marihuana Grow Initiative which represents the RCMP’s renewed commitment to fight marihuana production controlled by organized crime groups.

ALERT was 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.


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

Candace Cook
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)

S/Sgt. Shawn Lemay
Strategic Communications Unit
RCMP “K” Division

Fraser Logan
Media Operations
Department of National Defence