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Marijuana grow operation suspected

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Hay River (Nov 29/04) - Police suspect there's a marijuana grow operation in the Hay River area, following the discovery of a large amount of the drug and seeds.

In early November, the RCMP received an anonymous tip from a person who had stumbled upon a carton containing marijuana in a wooded area of the community.

NNSL photo

RCMP Const. Michael Carter displays nearly eight kilograms of marijuana recently located in a wooded area of town. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Police searched the area and found several other containers containing nearly eight kilograms of marijuana worth an estimated $118,000.

A carton with undisclosed evidence of trafficking and 160 grams of marijuana seeds valued over $8,000 were also located.

The seeds indicate to the RCMP that there may have been a marijuana-growing operation in or near Hay River, although they aren't certain.

Const. Michael Carter says if a growing operation existed, it is unknown whether it was in a greenhouse or a residence. "There are all different scenarios."

Carter would not disclose the location where the marijuana was found, other than to say it was within Hay River town boundaries, which extend 24 km from the centre of the community.

There were no footprints in the area and it is believed the drugs were there for some time without being visited.

Carter says the marijuana was divided into bags. "It was packaged at the trafficking level."

Several suspects have been identified, partly through information gathered from the community.

However, no arrests have been made. Nor have the suspects been interviewed.

"They themselves aren't aware they're suspects," Carter says.

The suspects are local people, but Carter says the possibility exists that outside people may have been involved.

"Presently, we are conducting forensic tests to determine the individuals who may be part of this," Carter says.