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Pot Anger Spills Over To Council

By Hempology | January 15, 2007

A local resident drew the ire of Pitt Meadows mayor and council Tuesday evening after he suggested that city officials have received preferential treatment from the RCMP when grow ops were found in their neighbourhoods.

The resident, who requested The TIMES not use his name, spoke to council Tuesday about his and his neighbours’ frustrations that RCMP officers did not respond Monday afternoon when marijuana plants were allegedly removed from a Pitt Meadows residence 

Neighbours wondered why RCMP didn’t search for evidence of a grow op months ago, only to have the alleged pot growers now move on.

“What’s been done?” he asked. “Nothing has been done.”

Repeatedly telling council he was frustrated, the resident alleged that a grow op in the neighbourhood of a “fire captain” was removed quickly. He also suggested council members have received similar treatment from the RCMP.

Visibly upset, Mayor Don MacLean interrupted after listening to the allegations of the RCMP giving preferential treatment to staff and council.

Police need probable cause and a search warrant before entering a residence where marijuana could be being grown, said MacLean.

“I’ve seen grow ops taken down in one day,” he said, adding other times that takes six months.

MacLean said the resident already knew the facts regarding the day in question after the RCMP talked to neighbours about why police officers did not respond.

“For you to come here after hearing the facts…,” he said before trailing off. Because an off-duty Coquitlam RCMP officer set foot on the property, any evidence gathered after that point would not be admissible in court, said MacLean.

“We don’t get involved in the operational issues of the RCMP,” he told the resident.

The alleged drug dealers were driven off the property after all “the questions, the cameras and so on.” But at least they’re no longer there, which was what the residents wanted, said MacLean.

“Had we caught them, that would have been a better thing.”

There were nine patrol cars on the streets on Monday to field the 56 calls that came in to the Ridge Meadows detachment, said the mayor. For the time of year, that number of calls is “heavy,” said MacLean.

But if the man does have any evidence to prove his allegations, the mayor urged the resident to turn it over so the RCMP could investigate.

MacLean, on council for 16 years, said there’s no one more frustrated than him.

“It is frustrating for the officers and those living in the community, and they want it to be cleaned up,” he said.

In response to Councillor John Becker’s suggestion for a town hall meeting, MacLean said: “Unless everyone in the community gets behind and says, ‘Not in my town’, we will still have grow ops.

Coun. Doug Bing said council didn’t appreciate the unfounded accusations.

“Tone the hyperbole down,” he told the man.

Coun. Andrew Tolchard, a retired police officer, said marijuana is the engine that runs the machine of organized crime.

“There are hundreds ( of grow-ops ), and the system can no longer deal with it, and there needs to be some changes,” said Tolchard, encouraging the resident to write to the federal government.

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