Hobbema RCMP are searching for suspects after seizing marijuana plants and equipment on Thursday night worth $1 million.
Const. James Lai, with the Hobbema RCMP, said it is one of the largest grow operations they’ve seen in Central Alberta in the last five years.
RCMP members found 800 maturing marijuana plants in two large outdoor greenhouses and a .22 calibre rifle on the Samson First Nation.
The plants, hydroponic and growing equipment has a street value of approximately $1 million, according to police. There were ventilation systems and tools to cut up the marijuana.
Lai said the operation was a natural grow operation, with a clear top over the plants to improve the greenhouse effect. The culprits also used a coloured top to conceal the grow operation from police flyovers.
Police received information about a large marijuana growing operation on the Samson First Nation and went to check out the local residence, not knowing until they examined it further how large an operation it was.
“The majority of the plants will be automatically destroyed once we get authorization from Health Canada,” Lai said. “A sample group will be kept for evidence in case charges are laid and to ensure how much THC or how strong the plants are.”
Hobbema RCMP, with air support, Wetaskiwin RCMP and the Edmonton Drug Section were involved in the drug bust.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We are looking for possible suspects and we’re still waiting for examination results from our forensics unit to be returned to us,” said Lai.
The forensics unit could turn up fingerprints or other evidence that could help determine who was part of the grow op.
As of Saturday no charges had yet been laid and it was unknown how many people were involved in the marijuana growing operation. The matter is currently under investigation by the Hobbema RCMP community response unit. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hobbema RCMP at 780-585-3767 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.