$42 million in drugs, guns, cash and jewelry confiscated during Operation Woolwich
By Mike Williscraft
The major pot bust at a Jordan Station grow operation last week has brought a sigh of relief for area residents and confirmed a sense of purpose for the Town of Lincoln.
Ontario Provincial Police raided Northend Gardens at 4030 Fifteenth St. – and other locations – confiscating $42 million in drugs, guns, vehicles, cash and jewelry on Aug. 13.
The operation was called Operation Woolwich and included executing 26 warrants in numerous locations including Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Jordan, Simcoe, Markham, Canfield, Welland, Leamington, Scarborough, Richmond Hill and British Columbia.
“Project Woolwich has dismantled a very sophisticated criminal enterprise that spanned from BC into Ontario and into the United States,” said OPP Insp. Jim Walker.
“(It) is a culmination of the enforcement efforts for the last year into a major investigation into criminal enterprise.”
Walker added that the ongoing issue with grow ops stems from those who choose to circumvent Health Canada guidelines by overproducing cannabis from amounts approved.
“Not everybody, who has a registration under the personal or designated production regime under Health Canada has been abusing. What we found, though is that organized crime or criminal enterprises have now used this as a loophole.”
Legal grow ops can have up to 400 plants and can have up to four licenses approved under one address.
For residents in the area of the Jordan Station greenhouse, they are ecstatic to see some action taken.
“I definitely feeling a sense of relief,” said Kristen Dias, who was the subject of a NewsNow story earlier in this year relating to odour impact.
“These results just go to show you what we all had been living near. I am very thankful that the Town of Lincoln is taking a hard stance on this issue. It is unfortunate it had to take this long. It is very key that the community sticks together.”
The Town has been working for many months to strengthen any level of control they can get over cannabis grow ops.
“The Town’s efforts have been to mitigate the concerns residents have had throughout Lincoln when it comes to these cannabis growers that aren’t following or adhering to odor, noise and light reduction strategies,” said CAO Mike Kirkopoulos.
“The Town is often limited in what it can do as this is a jurisdiction of higher levels of government. I would add, the Town is however bringing forward a public nuisance by-law to ensure these growers are not adversely affecting our residents, which remains our biggest priority.”