Merritt RCMP make 16 arrests in connection to illegal cannabis grow op

Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Police have dismantled an illegal cannabis operation near Merritt and made over a dozen arrests.

Merritt RCMP executed a search warrant under the Cannabis Act at a rural property in the Merritt area Nov. 19, according to an RCMP media release.

Approximately 800 cannabis plants at various stages of growth were found in a large commercial building along with the associated grow equipment.

Police arrested 16 people who were inside the building, seizing the plants and equipment. 

"This number of cannabis plants would equate to one cannabis cigarette for every person living in the community of Kelowna. This operation would produce that amount at least 3 times per year," Merritt RCMP Cpl. Derrick Francis said in a release. "The impact of that amount of cannabis not ending up on the streets of our community or any other community is immeasurable."

RCMP emphasized the revenue earned through these operations are seldom taxed and therefore does not contribute to the local funding of schools, medical services or infrastructure.

"I, and all the officers from the Merritt RCMP are committed to identifying and bringing to justice those who are responsible for all facets of drug trafficking in our community, from those illegally cultivating large scale cannabis operations, to the street level dial-a-dopers, no one will be overlooked in our enforcement and disruption efforts," detachment commander Staff Sgt. Major Steph Drouin said in the release.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

For the Government of Canada Cannabis Act regulations, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above.