News

Grow busted in ritzy neighbourhood

South Surrey RCMP are crediting the public with helping police take down a significant marijuana grow operation last week.

Const. Isabel Dupras said several months of surveillance on a multi-million-dollar property “in the heart of South Surrey” led to the March 5 dismantling of an “extremely unsafe” operation.

Dupras shared few details, for fear of jeopardizing the ongoing investigation.

She did say arrests are anticipated “in the foreseeable future” and that the grow-op was in a neighbourhood of multi-million-dollar homes.

Information from the public “was crucial” in getting this far, she said.

Neighbours “did the work in recognizing the telltale signs” of illicit activity and reporting them to police, Dupras said.

In this case, those signs included short-term visits to the property, unusual activity and a lack of interest in associating with neighbours.

“It’s difficult for us to gather information because we can’t be everywhere at once,” Dupras said. “We do require the public’s vigilance and interest in their own neighbourhood.”

Police began monitoring the several-acre property late last fall. Dupras said the grow-op posed little danger to neighbours in terms of the electrical hazards typically associated with such large operations.

Police and B.C. Hydro crews, however, had to tread carefully during dismantling because of the “extremely large” electrical unit being used.

Dupras said a bigger concern for neighbours is the criminal element such operations entice: “Because (of that) the neighbourhood becomes an unsafe area to try and enjoy one’s property.”

Dupras added any belief the Peninsula, because of its affluence, is less likely to be home to such operations is misguided.

“People like the South Surrey area because it’s quiet and it’s safe. And it really is. It’s a lovely place to be,” she said. “However, there is a certain element of the population that’s gainfully employed in what we believe to be criminal activity. They come in all sizes, economic groups and activity. To say South Surrey is different... would be incorrect.

“Marijuana grow operations and clandestine labs... you’ll find it in every walk of life.”

tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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