May 18, 2017 9:08 pm

Okanagan man jailed for tending to sophisticated underground marijuana grow operation

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The underground marijuana grow operation on a isolated, rural property near Cherryville was one of the most sophisticated police had ever seen.

There were about 3,100 adult plants and 1,600 clones growing in specially constructed concrete bunkers.

It’s why heavily armed members of the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team from Vancouver took part in the raid in November 2012.

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“They’re a team that works in confined spaces,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk at the time. “They’re trained for that type of activity.”

The powerful lights moved over the plants on motorized tracks. They were powered by a large diesel generator as were the five, commercial size air conditioners to beat back the heat of the lights.

There were carbon dioxide generators to increase the crop yield. There were two bud-processing machines valued at up to $15,000.

And the security measures included cameras and motion detectors at the locked gate to the property.

In Kelowna court recently the judge heard the grow-op could generate three or four crops annually, each producing almost 600 pounds of processed bud.

When sold by the pound the potential yearly revenues were between $3 and $4 million.

A 33-year-old Kelowna area man, the resident-caretaker, was arrested on scene.

Ryan John Gault pleaded guilty to producing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The prosecutor wanted 18 months behind bars but instead Gault was sentenced to one year jail and fined $200.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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