RCMP grow-op bust
London Community News
A massive RCMP operation has netted thousands of marijuana plants and growing equipment after police shut down two indoor grow operations and raided a pair of businesses linked to the operations.
The Mounties announced Tuesday afternoon (June 19) that they had dismantled a criminal organization involved in grow operations throughout Ontario and across Canada with the cooperation of the London Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service, the Halton Regional Police Service, Health Canada, the Real Estate Council of Ontario and London’s Sutton Group Preferred Realty.
Seven people have been arrested and charged in relation to Operation OSALE, including London realtor Thu Tran, 46.
The 18-month operation was launched in London after police learned that Tran was alleged to be assisting criminals in locating and purchasing London area properties that would be suitable for setting up grow operations.
During the operation, RCMP undercover officers dealt with the realtor to purchase a prospective grow house and then worked with various associated individuals who specialized in setting up the house, including the installation of lights and an illegal power bypass system, and the supply of small marijuana plants.
This grow operation, which would have been able to produce approximately $320,000 worth of marijuana per year, was shut down before production and the investigation exposed a criminal network able to supply anybody with an entirely functional grow operation.
It is alleged this same criminal group was also involved in decommissioning grow operations and putting the houses back on the market after they had been seized by police.
During the course of its investigation, the RCMP learned of the involvement of two companies that specialize in providing all the necessary grow operation equipment under the guise of being hydroponic garden stores.
It is alleged that these stores introduced the RCMP undercover officers to criminals supplying marijuana starter plants and clones diverted from medical marijuana farms licensed by Health Canada.
The RCMP believe they have exposed a widespread conspiracy to subvert the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations to produce marijuana for trafficking purposes.
Tran, along with Tuan Anh Vu, 52, of Vaughan and Kim Toan Nguyen, 64, of Mississauga are each charged with conspiracy to produce marijuana.
Cong Van Nguyen, 50, of Scarborough, Duc Phong Bui, 45, of Mississauga, Thang Vu, 56, of Scarborough and Derek Pedro, 40, of Hamilton are each charged with trafficking marijuana and conspiracy to produce marijuana.
All of the accused are expected to appear in court in London on July 27.