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RCMP investigate suspected illegal cannabis grow-op in southern Alberta

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WATCH ABOVE: A passerby spotted smoke coming from a rural property in southern Alberta, leading police to a significant cannabis grow op on the property. Quinn Campbell has the details – Mar 6, 2019

An allegedly significant marijuana grow-up on a remote rural Alberta property won’t soon be a sight that Wrentham Fire Chief David Nilsson will forget.

“We started extinguishing some fire and in the process, there was some marijuana leaves landing on the firefighters as they were spraying,” he said. “So it kind of alerted us to the possible situation.”

A passerby spotted smoke coming from the farm yard at around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, just outside the community of Wrentham, Alta.

What firefighters found inside was a suspected illegal marijuana grow-op with hundreds of plants.

“We did a rough estimate and it was between… 600 or 700,” Nilsson said.

When fire crews arrived, Nilsson said it appeared no one was home.

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“As far as we knew, the place was vacant,” he said. “RCMP I think finally cleared the house and the shed the following day.”

“The property was checked, we did find some more evidence of cannabis on the property, but basically, remnants of what has been there previously,” said Sgt. Gordon Yetman with the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP.

For firefighters on scene, it was an uneasy feeling once the pot plants were detected, Nilsson said.

“It makes you wonder, ‘Is there other kinds of operations on the property? Is somebody still watching from somewhere, or whatever? Or if they just got out of town?'”

Yetman added that a rural setting like the one near Wrentham is a perfect example how community members can assist police.

“If you do see suspicious activity out in your communities and out in the rural areas, don’t hesitate [to] report it to the police and we will follow up on it,” he said.

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, Yetman said a find the size of this one does not change how it would be investigated,

“What we saw out there is not what you’d call a personal amount by any stretch of the imagination.”

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READ MORE: Many companies dazed and confused on how to handle legal pot: survey

For Nilsson, the discovery of the grow-op has left him feeling a bit unsettled.

“It does make you a little unnerved as a member of the community that this kind of stuff is going on.”

RCMP said their investigation is still in its early stages and no charges have been at this time.