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‘Sophisticated’ marijuana grow op busted south of Mount Currie

Police Briefs: Vancouver man arrested for counterfeit currency; winter tire enforcement

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Pemberton police shut down a “sophisticated,” 5,000-plant marijuana grow-op outside of Mount Currie last week, according to a release.

At about 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, Pemberton RCMP, in conjunction with RCMP Air Services, observed what appeared to be a large outdoor grow-op on the west slope of Lillooet Lake, south of Mount Currie.

Officers attended the scene to find “what can only be described as a large, sophisticated outdoor growing operation,” police said. Approximately 5,000 plants in various stages of growth and around 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of dried marijuana ready for distribution were seized.

While on scene, police arrested a 31-year-old Ottawa man, a 34-year-old Gibsons man, and a 37-year-old Whistler man. They now face charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking and a production of a controlled substance.

Vancouver man flees police after arrest for counterfeit currency

A Vancouver man is facing charges after he was caught attempting to pass counterfeit bills at a number of Whistler shops and leading police on a foot chase around the village.

At about 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 1, Whistler RCMP officers were dispatched to the village after a report came in of a male trying to use fake US$50 and $100 bills at several stores. As police were investigating the initial claim, several other reports came in of the same individual attempting to use counterfeit currency.

Officers eventually tracked down the suspect in the 4200 block of Village Square; however, police said in a release that the 20-year-old male “managed to break free from the officer and a foot chase ensued.” The suspect reportedly led Mounties “through and around the Village Stroll area” until he was finally apprehended near Panorama Ridge.

He now faces several charges, including uttering counterfeit money, obstruction and breaching a probation order stemming from a previous incident in which he tried to pass counterfeit currency.

Police have identified several stores that may have accepted fake bills. Anyone who believes they have received counterfeit U.S. currency and have not yet spoken with police should contact the Whistler detachment at 604-932-3044 or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to remain anonymous.

Bait bike scores police another arrest

Whistler RCMP’s bait-bike program, which has helped reduce bike theft by 57 per cent this year, has nabbed another suspect.

Last Thursday, Sept. 27, Whistler police were notified that a bait bike had been stolen and was currently in the Vancouver area. As officers were arriving in East Vancouver, a vehicle was observed leaving a residence with a bait bike strapped to its rear rack.

Police stopped the driver, a 51-year-old Vancouver man, who was taken into custody. He was eventually released from custody with a promise to appear in court on a charge of theft over $5,000.

Whistler’s bait-bike program has proven fruitful for local police. Partnering with local businesses, police strategically place a rotating fleet of bait bikes around the resort, which are monitored through police dispatch. When a bait bike is stolen, police are able to pinpoint its exact location at a given time. According to statistics provided by police, as of Sept. 19, there had been 25 reported unrecovered bike thefts in Whistler in 2018, compared to 58 last year, and 94 in 2016.

Winter tires required on Highway 99 as of Oct. 1

Anyone questioning the provincial requirement to have winter tires installed for anyone on the Sea to Sky Highway by Oct. 1 needed only to look out their window on Tuesday, Oct. 2 to see why that deadline was put in place.

As Whistler was blanketed with a healthy dusting of snow this week, the community’s top cop was calling for drivers to be prepared for the unseasonal weather.

“There is no reason not to have winter tires,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Hayes. “It’s not like this is a new thing. Everyone knows that October is the time, and as is proven out on today of all days, we have centimetres of snow on the ground, so it’s Oct. 1 for a reason.”

In B.C., an appropriate winter tire is defined as one with either the M+S, or mountain/snowflake symbol, and in good condition, with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres.

While winter tires are not mandatory provincewide, they are required on a majority of B.C. highways, including the Sea to Sky Highway—along with Highways 1, 3 (also known as Crowsnest Highway), and 5 (also known as the Coquihalla).

Drivers without the proper winter tires in good condition driving on designated B.C. highways can be fined $121, while failing to have the proper tread depth on your tires can result in a $109 ticket.

Hayes said Sea to Sky police typically conduct tire checks on a seasonal basis. “This snow, of course, is very early for this year being the second day of October, but you can be guaranteed if (an accident) were to occur, what tires you had on at the time would become a part of our investigation.”

Drivers are reminded to slow down, use caution and check Drivebc.ca to plan ahead when setting out during the winter months.

Winter tire regulations end on March 31 on many highways, however, the regulations have been extended to April 30, 2019, on select mountain passes and rural highways, to account for early spring snowfall.

Also starting Oct. 1, 2018, commercial vehicle operators must carry chains and are required to use them when a mandatory chain-up is in place.

-With files from Clare Ogilvie

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