In a strange twist, police say that evidence taken from a B.C. marijuana grow-op famous for its tame bears was stolen from an RCMP detachment and later discovered at a home filled with weapons and explosives.
Kootenays RCMP Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel told ctvbc.ca that marijuana and other evidence was placed in a storage container in Grand Forks after it was seized from a suspected grow operation guarded by 14 tame black bears last month.
Seibel says that some of the evidence was recently stolen from the storage container after someone created a diversion at the Grand Forks detachment.
“Someone had placed an anonymous report to draw the officers to another location,” he said.
While the police were distracted, “The suspects breached the container and stole some bags of marijuana and other items.”
Some of the stolen items were discovered during a bust at a home in Greenwood — about 40 kilometres northwest of Grand Forks and 60 kilometres from Christina Lake — on Aug. 19, Seibel said.
During that bust, police also found at least 15 sticks of dynamite, three loaded guns and other stolen property.
Justin Douglas, 35, was arrested at the home, and police are looking for two suspects they believe could be connected to the home.
Seibel said that he believes that the suspects intentionally targeted the grow-op evidence during the robbery at the police station.
“I think that whoever took that probably knew what they were looking for.”
However, he added that police have not determined if there is any connection between Douglas and the Christina Lake marijuana operation.
Another possible criminal connection
The robbery is just another link in a convoluted chain of crimes in the area surrounding Grand Forks.
At a second grow-op raid in Christina Lake on Sunday, police uncovered an additional four sticks of dynamite, along with four guns and 228 marijuana plants.
Seibel said the dynamite found at the grow-op belonged to the same lot number as the sticks seized in Greenwood.
“To have this come up within days of one another…is a real blue moon,” he said, adding that investigators have not uncovered any other connection between the two cases so far.
Seibel described the three police investigations — the two Christina Lake grow operations and the explosives seizure in Greenwood — as a puzzle that police are trying to fit together.
“Some pieces seem to be fitting in this circumstance, and some don’t,” he said.
He added that it wouldn’t necessarily be surprising to find a link among all three cases.
“When a criminal group is involved in activities, they’re not limited to the little towns they reside in.”
But he added that police have not yet determined if any of the investigations are linked to gangs or organized crime.
“We’re looking at that. I don’t have anything to substantiate that,” Seibel said.
– Article from CTV News.