Twenty Ottawans face charges after a massive drug bust netting weed worth more than $6.8 million in street value, cash and weapons.
Project Power Plant “significantly disrupted the illicit production of cannabis marijuana in the Ottawa region,” said Ottawa Police Staff Sgt. Mike Laviolette from the drug unit.
A joint effort between city cops, provincial police, Ottawa Fire and the Canada Border Services Agency, the three month investigation wrapped up at the end of July.
The sting honed in on marijuana grow operations and traffickers.
The accused are charged with 79 Criminal Code and drug offences, while 33 charges have been laid under the Ontario Fire Code. Charges include production of marijuana, possession for purposes of trafficking and proceeds of crime over.
“They were all in residential areas and they were from one end of the city to the other,” said Laviolette.
“We didn’t target specific neighbourhoods.”
Police executed 18 search warrants, 12 of which were grow-ops.
Weapons seized include a 12 gauge shotgun, crossbow, ammunition and a bulletproof vest; more than $35,635 in cash was confiscated.
All grow-ops were indoors.
Indoor grow-ops are “always one of our priorities in the drug unit” mainly due to community safety, said Laviolette, “so we will always try and do what we can to get at them.”
Two years have passed since the last police grow-op raid.
“We just felt it was time,” said Laviolette.
Project Bypass took place from January to April 2011, with cops seizing $15 million worth of marijuana, $500,000 in marijuana-growing equipment and at least $285,000 in currency from Ottawa, Gatineau, and Brockville.
In this instance, 31 people were charged with 129 Criminal Code and drug offences and 75 charges were laid under the Fire Prevention and Protection Act.
THOSE CHARGED ARE:
Abdourahman, Sakaria, male, 39
Dinh, Van Huong, male, 43
Gauthier, Kevin, male, 27
Ho, Dennis, male, 21
Hoang, Phuong Thi, female, 48
Koziara, Tomasz, male, 35
Lavoie, Eric, male, 41
Liu, Hua Quaing, male, 50
Lobay, Ronald, male, 43
Ngo, Phong, male, 28
Ngo, Lisa, female, 18
Nguyen, Anh Phuong, male, 50
Nguyen, Phuong Hung, male, 52
Nguyen, Quan, male, 31
Nguyen, Thuy Thi, female, 54
Nou, Sim, male, 64
Tran, Ngoc, male, 26
Tran, Toan, male, 35
Whelan, Mary, female, 39
Zhou, Chi Ran, male, 39