Lights out

Lights out

Theft of electricity file uncovers grow operation in Ootischenia.

Marvin Beatty, Castlegar News

Police were following up on a theft report filed by a FortisBC revenue protection contractor and uncovered a marijuana grow operation in Ootischenia.

The RCMP and members of the Crime Reduction Unit from Castlegar executed the search warrant on a residence on Columbia Road in Ootischenia on Tuesday, May 7.

An adult female was arrested the evening of Monday, May 6 and is facing three charges: theft of electricity, possession of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Cpl. Darryl Orr, of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment, said police executed the search warrant May 7 but had a guard on the house May 6 to maintain continuity of the house while the warrant was being prepared.

Orr said it’s always a risk to have a member observing a rural property at night.

“It’s not something we like to do all the time but we didn’t have a choice and had to write the search warrant for today,” he said.

“Fortunately, nothing happened and the house was empty when we executed the warrant. It [the grow op] was completely in the lower level; the upper level would have looked like any other house you would have walked into — it was probably one of the cleanest residences I’ve ever been in that had a grow op in the basement.”

He added it has been at least a year and a half since he was involved in a theft of electricity case.

“I’ve been involved in about 15 theft of electricity files and in all but one, the reason for the bypass was to power the electricity for a growing operation,” Orr said. “Any grow up with 1,000 watt light bulbs consumes an extraordinary amount of power.”