Three People Found Guilty in Massive Saskatchewan Grow-Op

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    Three Guilty in Case of Massive Saskatchewan Pot Grow-Op

    CBC News

    A jury came back with guilty verdicts Wednesday for three of six men accused of running one of the biggest marijuana farms in Saskatchewan history.

    Following two days of deliberations, a Queen's Bench jury in Regina found Lawrence Hubert Agecoutay, 52, Chester Fernand Girard, 59, and Robert Stanley Agecoutay, 48, guilty of possession for the purpose of trafficking and production of marijuana.

    However, three other accused, Nelson Edward Northwood, 58, Jack Allan Northwood, 55, and Joseph Clayton Agecoutay, 47, were cleared of the same charges.

    The six were arrested when the RCMP raided a massive grow-op on the Pasqua First Nation northeast of Regina in August 2005.

    During the trial that began last month, court heard police found 10 greenhouses containing 6,000 plants, in what was described as one of the largest marijuana grow operations in the province's history. The Crown said the pot grown at the operation had a potential street value of $3 million.

    Lawrence Agecoutay, the man who police say ran the operation, testified the plants weren't for sale but were to be used as medicine to fight diabetes and cancer.

    Nelson Northwood mouthed a silent "thank you" to the jury when he learned he had been acquitted. Lawrence Agecoutay wept and appeared to be praying.

    Outside court, he said he wanted to thank the jurors and said he didn't fear what happens next.

    "I would die for my people if I have to," he said. "I have no fear of where the Creator puts me. He told me to do this for the people and that's what I did."

    "I see no bars in front of me. All I see is freedom and I have to continue to think that way," Robert Agecoutay said.

    In his instructions to jurors, Justice Frank Gerein said it didn't matter if the plants were going to be used as medicine; if the accused knew they were growing marijuana, they were guilty.

    Gerein also said not all the accused may have known what was being grown was marijuana.

    The jury also came in with acquittals on two other charges. It found Robert Agecoutay not guilty of forcible entry. Girard was found not guilty of a weapon charge.

    Sentencing is set for April 4. Crown prosecutor Darrell Blais said he'd be calling for "a very lengthy sentence."

    Robert and Lawrence Agecoutay have been released until the sentencing, but Girard remains in custody on another matter.

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