Two people were arrested in Central Saanich Wednesday morning, after police there and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team went to a home on Bella Vista Drive, suspected of being a marijuana grow op.
According to the Central Saanich Police Service, officers executed a search warrant at a home in the 6800 block of Bella Vista Drive at around 9:30 a.m. Deputy Chief Derren Lench says the Response Team went in first to secure the home and ensure it was safe for investigating officers.
Lench said an adult man and adult woman were arrested in the house, which had been converted into a large illegal marijuana grow operation. Around 500 mature plants were seized in the raid. No one in the home had a license to grow the marijuana for Health Canada, he noted.
“It this stage, it’s illegal,” Lench said, noting that police are treating marijuana grow ops as they normally would, as federal legislation legalizing recreational pot has not yet come into effect.
“It was a fairly large operation for a house,” Lench said. “It was quite a sophisticated grow op in there.”
He did not say where the marijuana might have been headed, but that it will be part of the ongoing investigation.
Central Saanich had, a few weeks ago, received information from the public about the home the possibility of it being a grow op. Lench said police began their investigation and gathered enough evidence to get the search warrant. The two people arrested have since been released from custody and are expected to be back in court once charges are filed by federal Crown counsel.
Lench said police continue to investigate and gather evidence. He added police are also looking into whether the house, vehicles and other property were obtained through the proceeds of crime. If so, he said the individuals could be looking at civil forfeiture of that property.
Lench added this was only the second or third marijuana grow op busted by Central Saanich Police in the three years he’s been with the force — and it is one of the largest in recent memory.
The Central Saanich Police, he added, have had more concerns and investigations into cocaine trafficking through the municipality in recent months.
“It has been one of our focuses,” he said, noting that if people have any information about any illegal drug activity in their community, police will investigate.