It’s harvest time in southern Ontario – pot harvesting time – and that means drug squads are out in force, scouring backroads and remote properties for mature marijuana crops. Cops in eastern Ontario found a big one (photos after jump), a reefer lover’s field of dreams off an isolated rural road less than an hour’s drive north of Kingston. They counted more than 5,000 plants that appear to be 5 to 6 feet tall, in the snaps provided by police.
The coppers peg the value of this raw crop (click photo at right for more pictures) at more than $5 million, based on the possibility that each plant can produce $1,000 worth of street product. So how did they find it? Of course, police aren’t saying, but they have plenty of tactics when it comes to tracking pot farms. When a low level dealer is busted, there’s often an attempt to turn him, if the investigators think he knows more. He’ll be squeezed for information on someone higher up the food chain, in exchange for a deal.
Big grow ops like this one, found on Howards Side Road, in Central Frontenac Township (formerly Howard Burke Road), are often located by aerial surveillance. The drugs aren’t hard to spot from the air, since a pot patch is a swath of bright green, uniform-size ground cover, set against the darker and uneven hardwood forest of most of this terrain. Cops locate a farm by plane, do some basic research on the property and and get a drug search warrant that permits a tactical team, along with drug squad officers, maybe K-9, and a bunch of foot soldiers to storm the place. The drug warrant was executed on September 4, 2010, on the property pictured here. Police say organized crime of some ilk is typically involved in the big growing operations.
Two men were arrested at this grow op when the coppers stormed in, Jing Fang Jiang, 45, of Markham, Ontario, and Fenmin Chen, 59, of no fixed address. They’re charged with production of marijuana and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.