Ontario Provincial Police in Norfolk County say they interrupted a large illegal cannabis operation early Thursday morning, seizing hundreds of large cannabis plants and arresting 26 people.
The raid was in coordination with Canadian Border Patrol, the Norfolk Community Street Crime Unit and other agencies. Police say they were alerted to the operation from several local complaints.
A video released by Norfolk County OPP shows one officer mowing down large cannabis plants with a brush saw, while another scene shows front loaders mixing cannabis plants with soil inside large greenhouses before loading them in at least five large dump trucks.
This is at least the second large seizure of this kind in Norfolk County. In August, Ontario Provincial Police say they dismantled a large cannabis grow operation in Norfolk County, seizing nearly 2,000 pounds of cannabis, along with other cannabis products in what police called Project Woolwich.
Norfolk County has been trying to manage cannabis grows in their jurisdiction for some time now. When cannabis was legalized in late 2018, local government established a new zoning bylaw to address concerns with setbacks from neighbouring residences and site plan control issues such as parking, lighting and odour emissions.
Earlier this year, Diane Finley, the MP from Haldimand-Norfolk raised the issue in the House, saying the current regulations create a “ loophole” that large scale growers are taking advantage of. Patty Hadju, the Minister of Health says she will look into the specific complaints.
Numerous large scale raids of large illicit cannabis operations, especially in southern Ontario, have been reported in the past few months.