Cheap land may be driving a proliferation of grow-ops in rural eastern Ontario, one that’s seen Ontario Provincial Police charge dozens of people and seize tens of millions of dollars of illegal cannabis in just over two months.
In that time, the region’s seen 18 drug busts that have led to 126 people arrested on charges that they illegally grew cannabis.
Nearly 59,000 plants were seized in the busts — an approximate street value of at least $70 million — along with hundreds of kilograms of processed cannabis, guns, cash and production equipment.
Police estimate each plant is worth between $1,200 and $1,400. The raids took place between July 29 and Oct. 2, at mostly rural addresses within a few hundred kilometres of Ottawa.
At one mid-September bust of a large outdoor operation in McArthurs Mills, Ont., midway between Bancroft, Ont., and Renfrew, Ont., OPP charged 26 people