ALERT Green Teams turn up heat on grow ops

With summer in full swing, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s (ALERT) Green Teams are reminding everyone

  • Aug. 1, 2012 6:00 p.m.

With summer in full swing, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s (ALERT) Green Teams are reminding everyone to be on the lookout for rural and outdoor marijuana grow operations.

ALERT Green Teams, integrated teams made up of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service and RCMP members, investigate and dismantle marijuana grow operations in rural and urban Alberta. Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, ALERT seized more than 57,000 marijuana plants, valued at nearly $69 million if sold at the street level.

Marijuana grow operations present significant safety hazards in rural and urban 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.

“We are asking rural Albertans to watch for grow ops this time of year,” said Green Team’s A/Sgt. Ray Savage, “While many people think grow ops are limited to cities, growers are drawn to rural areas where they feel their activity is more concealed and may go unnoticed. This is why it’s so important to be on the lookout.”

Signs of a rural or outdoor marijuana grow operation include:

• lime green vegetation concealed from roads or hidden within other crops;

• residents who appear to be living in the area temporarily;

• construction materials or the construction of temporary structures;

• isolated greenhouse structures;

• pumps, generators or other equipment not normally found in the bush;

• new ATV trails, or ATVs accessing previously unused trails; and

• suspicious activity at rural water sources.

To report suspicious activity or a suspected marijuana grow operation in your community, contact police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). For information on how to spot a marijuana 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. More than 400 municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs work for ALERT.