Charges pending in Pemberton pot bust 

Couple had two grow-ops and stash of guns in Owl Ridge house

The Crown is expected to lay charges this week against a couple arrested last September in conjunction with a large-scale marijuana grow operation.

After a lengthy investigation RCMP have forwarded a report recommending that a couple in their early 30s be charged with production of controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, the possession of unregistered firearms and the unsafe storage of firearms.

The grow-op was discovered in Owl Ridge Sept. 2 as the result of an airplane survey of the area between Pemberton and Lillooet that revealed an additional four operations in unpopulated, forested areas. Upon executing a search warrant for the Owl Ridge property RCMP discovered a secondary indoor growing facility, a number of unregistered firearms, packaged marijuana and hashish.

Names of the suspects cannot be released until formal charges have been laid.

Police have also recommended production, possession and trafficking charges in relation to another residential grow-op in Pemberton. A Whistler man and woman are expected to be charged in conjunction with a Nov. 26 bust of what police described as a “sophisticated grow op” located at 1468 Laburnum Street. Police say the unoccupied home was being used for the expressed purpose of housing a multi-phase hydroponic grow op.

The two accused will be making their first appearance in provincial court on March 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Pemberton.

The bust of this operation marked the first time the Village of Pemberton implemented its grow-op bylaw. The bylaw puts the onus on the homeowner to bring the premises up to code before it can be inhabited. The legislation was adopted to encourage landlords to be aware of the activities occurring in their rental properties.

Owners with homes housing grow-ops are responsible for all fees incurred in bringing the facility back up to code, including: professional cleaning, licensed repair and all necessary permits.

In related news, the VOP council will be revisiting the grow-op bylaw later this month in order to clean up the language to explicitly state that unpaid fines can be attached to taxes.

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