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Cops Bust Dozens of Apartment Grow-ops in GTA

Monday, December 4, 2006

Written by Scott Gilbert

On Jane Street near Shepard Avenue in Toronto recently, a major marijuana grow operation was found and dismantled. Police say they seized over $6.5 million worth of plants and equipment.

The building contained 20 or more individual units that each had plants and various types of growing equipment. Police say apartment buildings are now preferred for grow operations over houses for several reasons.

The main advantage is that these buildings have only one power source. These grow operations require large amount of electricity, particularly at certain intervals during the day. When the operations are conducted out of a private residence located on a residential street, the data from power companies can be analyzed to determine likely growing “hotspots” because the lights needed for the plants are turned on and off at the same time of day and left on for the same amount of time each day. Unless you are plugging in all electronic equipment in your house at the exact same time every day, such statistical irregularities are uncommon.

The other reason cited for the move towards high-rise apartments is the high vacancy rate across the city. Many landlords are scrambling to attract tenants, and may not want to rock the boat too much in order to maintain them.

However though, it is pretty bad news for a landlord to find that a grow operation is happening on his or her property. If the place gets raided, then the tenants involved in the operation will leave, as well as others who may no longer feel safe. It will give the unit a bad rep in the community and the clean up required by public health officials can be long and expensive and during which time the units cannot be rented.

Police say the operation they just busted was a high profile one and those running it were experienced. The Toronto Star published a schematic diagram of the layout of one of the units. The main door opened into the living room of the apartment, which was fully furnished with couches, a television, and pictures on the walls. The equipment and actual growing was located in the bedrooms, away from peering eyes. The units were also well equipped with fans and other devices to remove the inevitable smell associated with such an operation.

Two men are now in custody and face charges, and Police say other arrests are possible.

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