Arrests in $6.5-million cannabis grow-up

Two Quebec men face charges after police raided a medical marijuana grow-op in the Township of King, seizing 635 pounds of harvested cannabis and more than 4,000 plants, with a total street value of $6.5 million.

York Regional Police say a large-scale cannabis grow operation was discovered at 570 Strawberry Lane on July 26 while officers were helping with a safety inspection of the property, which has 22 greenhouses. Three Health Canada licences were in place that allowed a total of 875 plants to be grown for medical purposes. Police executed a search warrant on the property the next day.

“This criminal enterprise was operating well in excess of Health Canada authorizations to grow cannabis for medical purposes,” Chief Eric Jolliffe reports. Such operations pose community safety risks because of unsafe wiring and the use of chemicals.

It’s not uncommon for police to discover licence holders growing excessive amounts of cannabis.

“The product is then diverted to the illicit market by organized crime groups to supply illegal dispensaries, export outside of Canada and trafficked in our local communities,” Jolliffe says.

Samkeo Vanvilay, 43, of Laval, and Chi Chung Phan, 36, of Montreal, were charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and producing marijuana. The investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Guns, Gangs and Drug Enforcement Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7817, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips or leave an anonymous tip online at

York Regional Police photos

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