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  1. Motorhead
    Velma Mullaney, a grandmother in her sixties, could not believe her eyes. It was shortly after 9 a.m. and as many as 10 police officers and several police cars were outside her home near Castlegar, B.C.

    The police told her that they believed she was operating an illegal indoor marijuana-growing operation on her 3-1/2 acre property, Ms. Mullaney said Thursday in an interview.

    She said she had a licence to grow 98 marijuana plants for medical purposes for herself and her partner. The plants were in pots in two rooms at the back of a workshop on the property that her grandson used for his welding business.

    At first she thought the officers would just count the plants and leave. But the police refused to listen to her, she said. “I told them we had permits to grow. The officer just started yelling, ‘No, we did not. We had way too many plants and I was going to jail,’ ”

    Police cut down the plants and tore out the lights, fans and thermostats. “They basically wrecked everything,” Ms. Mullaney said. “What they didn’t take, they smashed.”

    RCMP Corporal Debbie Postnikoff later confirmed that police came to Ms. Mullaney’s home, but provided a dramatically different account of events.

    Police came to the house at 9:55 a.m. on Feb. 24 with a search warrant, Cpl. Postnikoff said. Based on evidence, police believed that Ms. Mullaney was not in compliance with her permit to grow marijuana.

    Police dismantled the grow operation as the number of plants exceeded what was authorized under the licence, Cpl. Postnikoff said. She declined to provide any details about the number of plants on the property or what was seized during the raid.

    They found her eighteen-year-old grandson, Michael Millard, in the workshop, Cpl. Postnikoff said. He did not have a licence to grow the marijuana and was not authorized to maintain the plants. Police found him “tending to the grow operation” and arrested him.

    Ms. Mullaney said her grandson had gone to the workshop to shut off the welding machinery when he saw the police. “[The police] kicked the doors in and put a gun to his head. They had him on the ground, on the floor, and handcuffed him.” His girlfriend was also arrested.

    “Instead of checking to see if we really have too many plants, they just went ahead and did what they did,” Ms. Mullaney said. “It was ridiculous. Everyone was just standing there and it would have only taken minutes to count them all.”

    Ms. Mullaney said she has arthritis and she uses marijuana to help her relax at night. “Otherwise you are really, really uncomfortable, finding a way to get comfortable.” Her partner uses marijuana to control pain caused by a bad back, she said.

    Health Canada issued her a licence for medicinal marijuana on Oct. 10, 2009.

    Ms. Mullaney was arrested for cultivating marijuana and trafficking. RCMP are now consulting with federal Crown prosecutors about the charges that will be laid.

    Ms. Mullaney is also facing charges of cultivation of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking as a result of a raid two years ago. She and her former husband, Lyall Mullaney, were arrested on Jan. 8, 2009, after police seized 1,200 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. A search of the home turned up prepackaged marijuana and some cash, a RCMP news release from 2009 states. Their trial is scheduled to begin later this spring.

    Robert Matas
    March 31, 2011
    The Globe And Mail


  1. Motorhead
    RCMP say grandma's grow-op was a righteous raid

    Castlegar RCMP are standing by their raid of a marijuana grow-op in Pass Creek last month after the grow’s owner, Velma Mullaney, alleged unfair treatment by police.

    Mullaney spoke to several local media outlets, claiming she and her partner had permits to grow 49 plants each, and that police refused to either look at her permits or count the plants. She also suggested the possibility of a civil suit to pay for damages to her property after the search.

    Mullaney also took issue with police cutting off her power and placing herself, her 18-year-old grandson and one of his friends, in jail cells during the search.

    Mullaney is slated to appear in court on April 6 to face charges of production and possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking in connection with another, separate raid at the same property, in which police allege they found 1,200 pot plants.

    Castlegar detachment commander Sgt. Laurel Mathew said the entire raid was by-the-books, and justified.

    “We did see her permit - we already had a copy of it with us, and we told her that,” Mathew said. “We did have a warrant based on evidence we had that suggested she was growing more than personal-use amounts – which turned out to be the case. Of course we counted the plants – three individual members did, in fact.

    “We didn’t do it in front of her – we never do,” she added. “We can’t have people wandering around the premises while we investigate and/or dismantle a grow … that just wouldn’t be safe. It’s standard procedure to bring them to the jail while the search and seizure is conducted, and the paperwork completed, then a Justice of the Peace decides whether they can be released.”

    She said it was also standard procedure for Fortis BC to come and cut off the power before the raid – stressing it was only cut off to the shed where the grow was, not to the residence – as jury-rigged electrical wiring commonly found in grow-ops can pose serious danger to people and property.

    “We didn’t damage anything, unless you count dismantling an illegal grow-op ‘damage’,” she said.

    Nor was it just the number of plants that made the scenario illegal, she added – she said it’s against the law for Mullaney’s grandson and his 17-year-old friend to be tending the marijuana plants without a permit to do so.

    Police are recommending charges of production and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

    Kyra Hoggan
    The Castlegar Source
    April 01, 2011
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