OPP seize more than 5,000 cannabis plants in Pembroke

| Morton Robertson

Ontario police say they have seized more than 5,000 cannabis plants and arrested four following the raid of a large commercial building in Pembroke on March 3.

The raid, in coordination with the OPP’s Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET), OPP’s Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB), Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU), Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU), Emergency Response Team (ERT) and officers from the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the OPP, was of a commercial building in the 900 block of Mackay Street in the City of Pembroke.

Pembroke is about 2 hours north of Ottawa on the Ontario/Quebec border. A similar raid in January of 5,000 plants was estimated to be worth more than $5 million.

The four persons charged with cultivating, propagating or harvesting any cannabis plant at a place that is not their dwelling house, are Aile Guo, 42, Xidi Yu, 48, both of Markham, Ziyu Ye, 52, of Scarborough, and Pingmai Zhen, 63, of no fixed address. All accused persons were released from police custody and are scheduled to attend the Ontario Court of Justice in Pembroke on April 6, 2021.

The OPP says the investigation is ongoing. Such raids have become common in Ontario in the last year, with several large scale raids yielding nearly 200,000 plants worth millions of dollars seized in the past two years

The PJFCET is responsible for enforcing the cannabis laws and investigating criminal enterprises that exploit or abuse the legal cannabis market and consists of members from the OPP and several Municipal Police Services. The PJFCET targets illegal cannabis production, sale and distribution enterprises across Ontario.

The PJFCET partners with OPP Regional Community Street Crime Units, along with members of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Emergency Response Team and Tactics and Rescue Unit, Ontario Fire Marshal, Ministry of Environment, Canada Border Services Agency and local municipalities to safeguard and protect communities from the dangers inherent with the illegal cannabis industry.