North Okanagan RCMP bust significant Cherryville grow operation

Police seize more than 2,700 plants and discover a Hydro bypass at a Cherryville home Tuesday, but are still looking for the home owner...

Another large North Okanagan marijuana grow operation has been dismantled.

Members from the Lumby RCMP executed a search warrant Tuesday morning at an address on Holmes Road in Cherryville.

“Our officers located 2,777 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, along with associated growing equipment,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

Police also discovered a Hydro bypass, which Molendyk said brings a safety concern into the equation.

“When the individual bypasses the electrical system to steal power, they put themselves and anyone who enters the grow operation at risk,” he said.

“The Electrical Distributors Association indicates that grow operations can consume upwards of 300 kilowatt-hours per day, which is 10 times the average household electricity consumption.”

Molendyk said the obvious concern is that transformers are often unequipped to handle such high loads, and most often the wiring is not grounded properly, or tied into a breaker system.

“The likelihood of fire in a grow operations is 40 times greater than a private dwelling,” he added. “Quite often chemicals are stored at grow operations, including liquid nutrients, fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides that could create toxic smoke if ignited.

“There is also the risk of chemical spills at grow operations.”

Nobody was home at the time of the police search, and the file remains under investigation.