Responding to what they at first believed was a fire on the 1300 block of Nichol Road on Wednesday evening, Revelstoke fire fighters quickly discovered it wasn’t that kind of hot event but venting from a grow op.
“No one appeared to be home and firefighters gained access to the residence at the rear of the building to do a quick search for possible occupants and source of the smoke,” said Fire Chief Rob Girard. “During that initial search we discovered a substantial marijuana grow operation throughout the house.”
RCMP were notified and requested to attend the scene for criminal investigation. It was determined upon opening up the gable end vents of the residence by firefighters that the operation was venting into the attic.
“This venting into the attic of the hot humid air gave the impression of smoke escaping from the gable end vents, as it formed steam when met the cold night air,” Girard said.
According to Cpl. Rod Wiebe of the Revelstoke RCMP, the entire basement of the house was dedicated to the production operation and contained over 850 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. A hydro by-pass was also located in the residence which enabled the suspect(s) to steal some of the power required to run the grow.
“This is one of the bigger operations that has been located in Revelstoke in some time and while it is too early to determine if it is linked to organized crime, it is definitely influenced by the lower mainland,” Wiebe said in a statement.
“To put the seizure into perspective the amount of plants seized could potentially produce about 371,000 joints, enough to supply each Revelstokian with over 40 joints, children included.
A 47-year-old man from the People’s Republic of China is currently in custody pending the outcome of the investigation. The suspect could be facing charges of production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and theft of hydro.
Police along with City and BC Hydro officials are continuing the investigation.
If you have information on this, or any other crime, contact your local RCMP Detachment at (250)837-5255 or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or leave your information anonymously online at www.bccrimestoppers.com. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest, or a conviction or the recovery of stolen property or the seizure of illicit drugs, you could be eligible for a cash reward.