RCMP to do air surveillance for marijuana crops

The RCMP will begin its annual air surveillance searching for marijuana grow operations around Nova Scotia.

During the month of August planes and helicopters will conduct aerial inspections of sites across the province including Pictou County.

Sgt. Keith MacKinnon, RCMP Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness co-ordinator, said the RCMP will be searching 20 to 25 sites a day. The sites to be surveyed are determined by tips called in by citizens to Crime Stoppers and local police.

MacKinnon said the public and property owners should be aware at this time of the year of suspicious activity.

He said grow-ops are typically found in open fields, in the middle of corn fields or other vegetation, planted in buckets and sometimes they are planted on someone else’s property. Marijuana plants grow from three to six feet tall, are bright green and have leaves with seven jagged fingers.

“If you see ATVs or trespassers on your property notify the police,” said MacKinnon.

He said signs of a grow-op are abandoned vehicles parked on side roads or trails, persons attending remote locations repeatedly, people walking in remote areas for no apparent reason, and bags of fertilizer, planting trays and chemicals located in remote areas or dumped on the side of the road.

MacKinnon warns the public to never approach any grow-op.

“They are usually physically guarded or they have booby traps,” he said, adding grow-ops are often associated with organized crime. “These people don’t want to get ripped off.”

Last year through the program 5,700 marijuana plants were seized across the province. He said a six-foot marijuana plant could yield 300 to 500 joints.

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