Over 122,000 illegal cannabis plants worth over $143 million have been seized across Ontario since the beginning of July, provincial police say.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) confirmed Tuesday that they have made 195 arrests in the “takedown of several criminal enterprises exploiting the Health Canada medical, personal, and designate cannabis production regime” across the province.
The OPP Regional Community Street Crime Units, together with the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Emergency Response Team, and Tactics and Rescue Unit teamed up to make the arrests between July 1 and Oct. 15, according to an OPP press release.
In total, the OPP officers executed 52 warrants across Ontario, with 25 in the central, 24 in the east, and three in the west regions. Officials said that those targeted were involved in “large-scale, sophisticated illegal cannabis production, sale, and distribution operations.”
Jim Walker, detective inspector with OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau warned of the consequences of illegal cannabis production.
“From concerns regarding public safety and environmental contamination, to human trafficking, the impacts that these large-scale criminal cannabis production sites have on our communities cannot be understated,” said in the release.
Besides the cannabis plants, the OPP officers also seized 36 firearms, nearly $515,000 in crime proceeds, and over $76,000 in cash.
The OPP said they’ve laid 327 charges against those they arrested under the federal Cannabis Act and Criminal Code from “possession of cannabis for the purposes of selling to careless storage of a firearm.”
The cannabis plants seized came from 52 large scale operations, with one site accounted for 7,000 plants.
In Montreal, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said Wednesday they have dismantled a criminal network responsible for producing and selling illegal cannabis products across the Greater Montreal area.
The SPVM said the network used fraudulent Health Canada medical cannabis cultivation permits to carry out their illegal activities.
Police conducted 17 searches in Montreal, Laval, and Saint-Lazare residences on Oct. 21 morning with the collaboration of Hydro-Québec, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Laval Police Department.
The operation had the police seized more than 1,000 cannabis plants, and multiple drugs including over 480 pounds of marijuana, 234 amphetamine pills, 1.24 kilograms of hashish and 238 grams of cocaine. The SPVM also found over $100,000 in cash, an electric pulse gun, and one set of brass knuckles.