Nova Scotia cops are starting their annual search for outdoor marijuana grow-ops Thursday.
The RCMP and municipal police will use a helicopter, information from the public and other means to look for the bright green plants.
This year the police may prosecute growers, unlike other years where the operation was simply a seek-and-destroy mission.
“We’re looking at potential charges if the evidence is there,” said Sgt. Keith MacKinnon of the RCMP. “It depends on the information that comes in.”
From now through September, officers will be searching an average of 20 to 25 sites a day, he said. They expect to find about 300 to 400 plants each day.
Last year, police destroyed 5,700 plants. The biggest grow-op they’ve discovered had 9,200 plants in Annapolis County. That was several years ago.
A big part of the operation involves getting information from the public. Police say marijuana grow-ops are often associated with organized crime, which brings the risk of violence to communities. Grow ops are often guarded or surrounded by booby traps, which are dangerous.
An RCMP release said people should keep their eye out for the three- to six-foot-tall plants which have the distinctive leaves with seven jagged fingers.
Some common signs of grow-ops include: abandoned vehicles on side roads and trails, repeated trips to isolated areas, people trespassing in isolated areas on foot or ATVs, bags of fertilizer or chemicals and cleared-out areas in cornfields or wooded areas.
– Article originally from The Chronical Herald.