CRIME program to continue for now

The Cariboo Region Integrated Marijuana Enforcement team (CRIME) is nearing the end of its year-long pilot project run and will not end on its one-year anniversary, Sept. 4.

The Cariboo Region Integrated Marijuana Enforcement team (CRIME) is nearing the end of its year-long pilot project run and will not end on its one-year anniversary, Sept. 4.  Cpl. Annie Linteau with the federal RCMP media relations, says the team will carry on beyond that date to help advance a second “community phase” initiative.

That is currently underway and consists of a long-term community phase in which the marijuana grow operation provincial working group, the province and stakeholders “explore other solutions to the marijuana grow operation problem in the Cariboo region besides enforcement.”

Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Warren Brown says the second phase may take some time to work through.

“The long-term comunity piece is exploring in consultation with stakeholders in the communities options and opportunities that would make growing marijuana not only in the Cariboo but in rural B.C. less desireable,” Brown said adding the method to do that might be to, “identify some barriers to prevent that from happening so that could include legislative changes, maybe identifying new legislation that would make it more difficult for people to do that.”

Brown says stakeholders could include cities, regional districts, realtors, banks, provincial officials from the ministry of environment, the federal department of fisheries and oceans or B.C. Hydro, for example.

Linteau says the community phase is intended to bring stakeholders together to identify long-term solutions as “enforcement can’t be the only solution.”

The CRIME team was established in September 2010 in response to a high number of grow operations in the Cariboo region and around communities like Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Prince George, Quesnel and in surrounding areas.

It is a federally funded joint force operation that targeted marijuana grow operations and consisted of 15 full-time members from municipal RCMP detachments, provincial RCMP units and federal RCMP sections.

According to information provided by the federal RCMP media relations, to date CRIME has executed approximately 50 search warrants, seized more than 100,000 plants and resulted in 65 charges being laid.

At a July City council meeting council agreed to send a letter to the Cariboo Region Marijuana Community consultation chair in support of continued funding for the team saying that in order to ensure continued success in combatting the proliferation of grow operations a “long-term commitment of resources is required by the province and the RCMP.”

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