Merritt RCMP arrest 16 people in illegal grow-op bust

Police bust illegal grow-op

Merritt RCMP arrested 16 people during an illegal grow-op bust on Thursday.

Police executed a Cannabis Act search warrant on a rural property in the Merritt area where they found a large commercial building with around 800 cannabis plants. There were 16 people inside.

Plants and grow equipment were seized and the 16 people found inside now have charges pending against them. All were found with ties to the BC Lower Mainland.  They were released at the scene. 

"This number of cannabis plants would equate to one cannabis cigarette for every person living in the community of Kelowna. This operation would produce that amount at least 3 times per year," states Cpl. Derrick Francis, Merritt RCMP. 

"The impact of that amount of cannabis not ending up on the streets of our community or any other community is immeasurable," Francis adds.

Police added that money earned on these types of operations are seldom reported, so regional district and municipal taxes are not collected. This allowing the owners to earn a living but not contribute to the local funding of schools, medical services or infrastructure.

"I and all the officers from the Merritt RCMP are committed to identifying and bringing to justice those who are responsible for all facets of drug trafficking in our community, from those illegally cultivating large scale cannabis operations, to the street level dial-a-dopers, no one will be overlooked in our enforcement and disruption efforts," said Merritt RCMP Detachment Commander, Staff Sergeant Major Steph Drouin.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

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