A co-operative effort between the Pemberton RCMP and the Stlatlimx Tribal Police has led to the discovery of more than 1,200 mature marijuana plants worth an estimated $1.5 million-$2 million on the street.
The police used a plane to locate the plants in clearcuts in the Meager Creek area, based on intelligence they had come their way.
There have been no arrests as of yet, but officers are continuing their investigation.
Both forces are continuing to work together, collecting information on other grow operations.
"We both police pretty much the same area, they police the reserve area and we police outside the reserve, and being small detachments we frequently help each other out," says Sgt. Bruce Waite of the Pemberton RCMP. "It went very well."
Although this wasnt the first grow operation that the Pemberton RCMP and Stlatlimx Tribal Police have discovered, it was by far the largest. According to Waite, it took five officers a full day to cut down and destroy the plants, hauled away in nine pickup-truck loads.
"We certainly dont want to see this stuff growing in this area," he says. "Is there more? Undoubtedly. Its such a big area. We police about 867 square miles, a lot of it is unpopulated and its prime growing area."
This is the season when outdoor plants mature and are harvested by grow operators. Stumbling into a field while hiking can be dangerous.
"We havent had any incidents in this particular area, but in other areas weve had a problem because there are people watching the plants, who have set up booby traps and what have you. We advise people to be very careful of what youre doing."
If you come across an operation in the bush, the RCMP advise you not to put yourself in danger. "If anyone sees what they believe to be a marijuana grow operation and wants to let us know about it, their names will be kept confidential and wont be released," says Waite.