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  1. Alfa
    $3M IN POT SEIZED

    RCMP Raid Upscale Homes In St. Andrews

    It's a bumper crop for RCMP. Mounties harvested about 3,000 marijuana
    plants on the weekend while raiding four sophisticated grow operations
    in upscale homes in St. Andrews.

    With each plant worth about $1,000, the haul is estimated to have a
    street value of $3 million.

    "It's a significant seizure," said Selkirk RCMP Const. Dwayne
    Cebryk.

    "It would be one of the top ones in the Selkirk area, if not the
    biggest for this detachment."

    Due to the size and sophistication of the grow ops, investigators are
    probing possible links to organized crime, Cebryk told The Sun.

    It all began about 2 p.m. Friday, when police were called to a
    burglary in progress at a home at 5 Deer Rapids Dr., northeast of St.
    Andrews Airport.

    ELABORATE

    Soon after officers arrived, they discovered an elaborate grow
    operation in the basement of the home.

    A 34-year-old St. Andrews woman was arrested and faces charges of
    production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of
    trafficking.

    Her name has been withheld because she was released on a promise to
    appear in Selkirk court July 13 and won't be formally charged until
    then.

    The subsequent investigation led RCMP to three other St. Andrews
    residences -- 5418 Highway 9, 12 Praznik Pl., and 6 Michael Bay --
    where three more raids were conducted.

    The three residences were uninhabited and were set up to grow large
    amounts of dope, Cebryk said. No other arrests have been made.

    The grow op busts are the first this year for Selkirk RCMP.

    "We haven't had to deal with these types of things. This is the tip of
    the iceberg for us perhaps," said Cebryk.

    RCMP wouldn't discuss how the homes were linked, other than to say
    neighbours had reported "odd activity" at all four residences.

    "People noticed that these homes weren't being used as they are
    traditionally meant to be used," Cebryk said.

    "That allowed us to move fairly quickly after the link was made."

    Meanwhile, police in Winnipeg have been busting grow ops at a steady
    pace.

    At last count, Winnipeg police have busted more than 55 grow ops
    across the city this year.

    "That's starting to spill over into the rural area," Cebryk said.

    RCMP spokesman Sgt. Steve Colwell said there have been several grows
    busted across the province this year and he credits that in part to
    public awareness.

    "I think the public is more aware of what's going on," he said. "They
    know what to look for and they are alerting local detachments more
    so."

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