WINDSOR, NS – The fight to keep drugs off the streets in Nova Scotia is now starting hundreds of feet in the air.
For the last month, RCMP have been partnering with the Department of Defense to eradicate marijuana grow operations in the province.
Project SABOT is an annual initiative that sees officers take to the skies to seek out drug operations from a military helicopter. This year, Global News got to ride along on one of the explorations.
“The helicopter allows for a different perspective,”Const. Mark Skinner, RCMP told Global News. “It’s easier to spot the plants, where we couldn’t necessarily see the plants from the ground.”
Here how it works; RCMP fly over areas where potential drug operations could be taking place in the province and look for any sign of marijuana.
“We have an RCMP spotter that is designated to spot the plants from the helicopter and when they spot a plant or an operation where there’s plants growing, they would radio to the ground team, who would go in and seize the plants.”
Police say by spotting and dismantling grow operations, there is less marijuana for sale in the area. Some of the marijuana that is harvested here is sold in the province or even possibly around the maritimes. Police say those who are involved in marijuana production are a threat to the community.
“Marijuana itself has ties to serious organized crime and drug distribution networks,” said Const. Skinner. “Disrupting those networks is part of the RCMP’s goal to providing safer communities and safer homes for Canadians.”
Besides wanting to keep drugs out of the hands of children, RCMP say marijuana grow ops are detrimental to wildlife and the environment. That’s because pesticide use and runoff can have serious environmental damage.
This year, Project SABOT took place from August 31 to September 22. In that time, Police were able to eradicate 1627 marijuana plants, keeping tens of thousands of dollars of drugs out of the community.
Anyone who spots suspicious behaviour or believes they have spotted a marijuana grow operation is asked to contact their local police or Crimestoppers.