An RCMP task force targeting large-scale marijuana production in the Cariboo – North District Region was deemed successful after its 15-month mandate resulted in seizing nearly 11 tons of pot on 70 properties.
It also resulted in criminal charges being laid against 78 people.
B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond and Supt. Brian Cantera, officer in charge RCMP Federal Drug Enforcement Branch, praised the Cariboo Region Integrated Marijuana Enforcement (CRIME) task force at a news conference Friday.
“From a policing perspective, the results that we have seen from the CRIME project were very substantial,” Cantera said. “Through strategic and targeted enforcement we were able to disrupt and dismantle the grow-ops. This prevented the illegal marijuana from being used as commodity to export and purchase other drugs, such as cocaine, or firearms.
CRIME was created to work closely with local detachments to disrupt the ability of organized crime from illegal grow-ops after the RCMP in the region identified the grow-ops as a widespread problem.
Bond announced due to the pervious success a new program will be picking up where CRIME ended.
“We want to build on the success of the CRIME program and that is why we will be providing the resources to ensure that the momentum continues,” she said.
The North District Integrated Marijuana Enforcement Team (NDIME) focuses on grow-ops throughout Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House. It is stationed out of Prince George.
“The North District Integrated Marijuana Enforcement Task Force will provide expertise and support to local detachments,” Bond said.
The task force will receive additional provincial support from Regional General Investigative Services and North District Criminal Intelligence Probe Team and federal support from the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Section.
NDIME includes members from Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, two RCMP Drug Enforcement branch members, and one member from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
Unlike CRIME, this task force does not have a time limit.
“We expect this to be an ongoing program,” Bond said. “I’ve made it very clear to our team that this type of enforcement is essential and once you build up this kind of momentum, I mean the initial results are very dramatic—11 tons of marijuana, we simply have to see that continue.”
Supt. Rod Booth, acting commanding officer North District RCMP, said and on-going task force is what the region needs.
“By continuing our targeted enforcement of marijuana grow operations in north district we are clearly serving notice that organized crime groups are not welcome; I repeat, organized crime groups are not welcome in the north district.”