Millions of dollars worth of pot plants seized
More than 4,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $5.6 million have been seized in what police are calling the largest coordinated marijuana bust in our province's history.
It took a year, but Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), along with local police and RCMP, were able to dismantle eight grow operations spread out across Edmonton, which include three homes in the north-end and one on the west side.
Four also existed outside of the city including, Strathcona County, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan and Spruce Grove. Officers raided the homes Tuesday morning.
Neighbours in Spruce Grove are shocked to learn they were living next door to a marijuana grow operation.
"We saw a moving truck come in and cube vans and they dropped some stuff off but basically there was nothing that looked suspicious to us," said resident Ed Vinson.
In addition to the seizure of marijuana plants, 47 pounds of processed marijuana with a value of $118,000 was also taken into police custody.
Some property, vehicles, a ski boat, growing equipment, various weapons and $50,000 in cash was also seized.
It's believed at least 38 people associated with the massive grow operations are part of a larger criminal organization growing pot and trafficking drugs across Western Canada and the United States.
"We will take the necessary steps to make sure this group does not operate again," said Insp. Kevin Galvin with ALERT.
The investigation now continues with charges pending.
"We have a significant amount of evidence we gained yesterday and we just have to make a decision with our prosecutorial partners as to how we'll deal with all these people," said Galvin.
In the meantime, others are left to deal with the homes involved in the bust. Epcor was called in to cut power to one home in the north-end on Wednesday.
Police say they will focus their efforts on four ringleaders first, and then will direct their attention to the dozens of support staff working in the group.
With files from Scott Roberts