From the National Post.
Cottage country's new industry: marijuana
'Pot pirates' are injecting a terrifying twist to the marijuana industry
Rebecca Penty, National Post
Published: Monday, October 29, 2007
HALIBURTON - As the trees change from green to red and orange along Highway 400, city dwellers make fewer weekend treks hours north of Toronto, through winding country roads, into the heart of cottage country.
The seasonal holidaymakers are replaced instead by the criminals involved in outdoor marijuana growops who each year descend upon the region's remote swampland, fields and forests to harvest their crop, but who this year are behind levels of violence so unprecedented that it has residents and cottagers thoroughly frightened.
Biker gangs, Asian gangs and other criminals have operated a lucrative drug industry in cottage country for years, but police say a violent new trend is emerging: criminals stealing from other criminals' grow-ops.
"What we are dealing with is pot pirates -- individuals who scour the area and identify grows and take plants at any cost, with no regard for public safety," said Detective-Sergeannt Dean Steinke of the Kawartha Lakes Combined Forces Drug Enforcement Unit.
On Oct. 5, two contractors working for the Ministry of Natural Resources driving ATVs on a trail near Minden came upon three armed and masked men dragging bags of harvested marijuana out of the bush. The contractors were taken hostage and tied up with their own belts -- one was pistol-whipped -- while the assailants took their identification and stole their ATVs. That same afternoon, four others using the trail were similarly stopped, tied up, and forced to lie face down on the ground.
While those operating grow-ops have been known to steal ATVs from private properties, these recent incidents are the first time that officers have encountered such a degree of violence toward innocent people.
Last fall, five police from the Kawartha Lakes drug unit arrived at an outdoor grow-op targeted as part of a crackdown and found a large group of men on the scene stealing plants.
"Twenty-one people went into the bush from every ethnic group, working together to steal someone else's grow," said Det. Sgt. Steinke. "They were armed and wore bulletproof vests." Police initially intercepted a dozen of the thieves and caught the rest of them throughout the evening.
Biker gangs are bad enough. We do not need Asian gangs but we imported them and now we're stuck with them. If Canada didn't import so many people we would be in a better position to weed out criminal elements. But since immigration is a numbers game, with ethnic groups pressuring Canada's political parties with their votes to keep numbers high and laws relaxed, it doesn't look like anything good is going to happen any time soon.
What I find funny about this is that while Asians are responsible for the largest ecstasy busts in Canadian history and have helped bring the drug war to Ontario's cottage country, not to mention their notorious penchant for breaking copyright laws, people like Avvy Go and Susan Eng are more concerned about "white boogeymen" hiding in the bushes waiting to push Asian fishermen into the water even though the fishermen may be illegally fishing anyways. Guess some people have different priorities.