Bust of underground Chilliwack bunker yields $3 million worth of marijuana
METRO VANCOUVER — Chilliwack RCMP landed a record marijuana haul this week when they raided an underground bunker containing 11,520 pot plants worth an estimated $3 million.
And like a scene out of the movie Pineapple Express, police encountered booby traps, a special irrigation system tied to a local stream and a hydraulic lift to the bunker found on a property in the 7600-block of Nixon Road in Chilliwack.
"While we cannot confirm any links to organized crime at this point, the level of sophistication of this grow op suggests many people were involved in establishing and running this operation," Cpl. Lea-Anne Dunlop said.
Anyone sneaking into the bunker would have been hit with bear spray connected to the booby traps.
"A subfloor had been built concealing an elevator-style hydraulic lift that provided access to the underground bunker where four separate grow rooms had been established," Dunlop said in a statement. "A Quonset hut had been built overtop of the bunker giving the illusion of a legitimate out building on the property."
She said water for the massive operation was piped in from a nearby fish-bearing creek and pumped into the growing operation.
Toxic chemicals from the operation were being dumped back onto the property.
A system of security cameras was wired so that it could be monitored from the house on the property where a 61-year-old Chilliwack man was arrested.
The suspect is not known to police, Dunlop said. He was remanded in custody while the investigation continues.
RCMP specialists estimated the growing operation involved stealing close to $400,000 in electricity from B.C. Hydro. Police are being aided by crews from the City of Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Fire Department, B.C. Hydro, the Security Resources Group, and the Ministry of the Environment in dismantling the operation.
"We have impacted the criminals who have been operating this grow-op on a financial level in seizing over $3 million worth of crop, and a large quantity of equipment and supplies from the property," she said.
Police executed a search warrant at the property Wednesday. They did not say what led them to suspect the location was the site of illegal activity.
Meanwhile, the Abbotsford police department were called to investigate a shots fired just before 5 a.m. Thursday in the 34700-block of Hamon Drive.
Members of the patrol division located several shell casings and found a man attempting to leave the home.
"The male was immediately taken into custody. A search of the home for injured parties, weapons and potential suspects revealed that this home was being used as a marijuana grow operation," Const. Ian MacDonald said in a release.
No firearm was recovered and no one appeared to have been hurt, he said.
On Vancouver Island, marijuana growers got help with their harvest this year when a team of police agencies, including the Victoria Police Department and the RCMP, moved in and destroyed more than 29,000 plants over the last two weeks.
"We were routinely destroying plants that would produce anywhere from one to three pounds of marijuana," RCMP Cpl. Darren Lagan said. "At the low end, that's over fifty thousand pounds of product, which represents a commodity for organized crime groups on Vancouver Island. The sale or trade of that marijuana would result in other dangerous street drugs, and firearms coming into our communities."
The majority of growing sites were north of the Comox Valley, where crime groups have an advantage due to the remoteness, terrain, and climate, he said. "This is not a harmless or victimless crime. The marijuana being grown in our backcountry will put money and weapons in the pockets of criminals. It's that simple."
BY KIM BOLAN, VANCOUVER SUNSEPTEMBER 10, 2009
there is video footage and more pics on the original story linked above