The Edmonton Police Service announced details of a drug bust on Monday that it described as the largest of its kind since recreational cannabis was legalized over two years ago.
According to police, officers were called to respond to a dispute between a landlord and tenant and came across what they suspected was “an illegal commercial cannabis grow operation” in the city’s west end on Feb. 10.
Police said an investigation determined the operation did not have the permits required to grow cannabis. The EPS Clandestine Laboratory Unit helped execute a search warrant at the space in the area of 214 Street and 100 Avenue.
“The size and industrial nature of the operation caused thousands of dollars of damage through makeshift alterations to the property,” Staff Sgt. Jared Hrycun with EPS West Division said in a news release.
“This is the largest illegal cannabis grow operation discovered by the EPS in Edmonton since legalization.”
In all, police said “640 cannabis plants and associated growing equipment was seized with an approximate total value of $790,000.”
“Illicit operations… subvert safeguards put in place by the government to protect producers, distributors and consumers while jeopardizing the reputation of the legitimate industry,” Hrycun said.
Frederick Scott Vaisnis, 39, and Alice Brenda Vaisnis, 34, have since been arrested and charged with possessing more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering, possessing cannabis for the purpose of unauthorized distribution, cultivating a cannabis plant in a place that is not their dwelling and possessing equipment with intent to use to produce, sell or distribute illicit cannabis.
The accused are next scheduled to appear in court on March 18.