Police seize 317 plants in raid on house in Red Deer’s Clearview subdivision

Clearview Meadows residents are relieved that an apparent marijuana grow operation in their neighbourhood was raided on Monday morning.

Cpl. Lorne Doktor prepares to close one of the bags of marijuana and load it onto the truck with the rest of the seized grow-op equipment (above) after an apparent grow op was busted at 32 Cornett Drive in Red Deer on Monday. Inset: neighbour Kelly Pickering

Cpl. Lorne Doktor prepares to close one of the bags of marijuana and load it onto the truck with the rest of the seized grow-op equipment (above) after an apparent grow op was busted at 32 Cornett Drive in Red Deer on Monday. Inset: neighbour Kelly Pickering

Clearview Meadows residents are relieved that an apparent marijuana grow operation in their neighbourhood was raided on Monday morning.

Cpl. Kathe Deheer of city RCMP said police used a search warrant to raid the residence at 32 Cornett Drive around 10 a.m.

Deheer confirmed that police seized 317 marijuana plants and a vast quantity of marijuana growing apparatus.

Police arrested an adult woman at the scene.

She was in custody on Monday afternoon for questioning but no charges had been laid nor had her name been released, pending charges.

The residence, which was sold more than a year ago, is across from a busy bus stop that is a pickup spot for scores of students from kindergarten to Grade 12, two residents said.

Kelly Pickering, who was driving by, said she was pleased the police busted the alleged operation.

She said residents could smell strange odours, which they believed to be marijuana, at times.

“We could smell it from time to time in the night time,” Pickering said.

She said the residence never had any traffic coming or going from it and the people she did notice around the house were at times spotted doing gardening work such as picking weeds.

“It’s good that the police took this place down.”

She said she didn’t call police because she noticed a neighbour, who is a Mountie, was parked near the residence observing it.

“We knew he was a policeman so we figured he was watching the place,” Pickering said.

She also said she wasn’t concerned about all the nearby children at the playground or bus stop.

“I think these people wanted to remain quiet and not bring attention to themselves.”

Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was concerned because of all the children playing in the nearby community centre and playground.

She said only one or two adults were noticed infrequently around the house, which is on a corner lot.

Stan Ownings, who had just finished voting in the municipal election at the nearby community centre, said cracking down on criminals such as marijuana growers is an important aspect in the election.

“I just read the other day that Red Deer is one of Canada’s most dangerous cities and this is an example. I’m very happy the cops are doing something about it around here,” Ownings said.

Deheer wouldn’t comment on the street value of the drugs.

It’s estimated that a kilogram of marijuana sells for about $6,000 based on the street value of about $200 for 28 grams.

The bust was conducted by members of the Red Deer drug squad augmented by the Calgary “green team.”

Cpl. Lorne Doktor said about 30 officers participated in the bust, including seven from the green team, comprised of City of Calgary Police Service and RCMP members.

“This type of operation takes lot of manpower and ties us up for hours,” Doktor said.

Deheer expects one woman will be charged with production of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

The residents had drilled a large hole in the cement foundation in the basement to steal power for the running of strong lights necessary to make the plants grow.

Deheer said it’s always a concern for officers when they enter a grow operation because of the uncertainty of the wiring.

“When you get an amateur rewiring something like this, it’s very dangerous,” Deheer said.

“We’ve had fires in the past when power is rerouted like this,” she added.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com