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Sixteen people have been arrested and cannabis and cannabis growing equipment have been seized as a result of a search warrant executed yesterday by Merritt Mounties.

On November 19, 2020, Merritt RCMP executed a Cannabis Act search warrant on a rural property in the Merritt area. A large commercial building was located with approximately 800 cannabis plants at various stages of growth. Sixteen people were located inside of the building.

The RCMP has seized the plants and associated grow equipment. The sixteen people, all with ties to the BC Lower Mainland, were released at the scene and charges are pending.

"This number of cannabis plants would equate to one cannabis cigarette for every person living in the community of Kelowna. This operation would produce that amount at least 3 times per year," states Cpl. Derrick Francis of the Merritt RCMP. "The impact of that amount of cannabis not ending up on the streets of our community or any other community is immeasurable."

“It is important to note, monies earned on these operations are seldom reported and therefore the regional district and municipal taxes are not collected. Allowing the owners to earn a living in these areas but not contribute to the local funding of schools, medical services or infrastructure,” added the RCMP.

Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Major Steph Drouin states, "I, and all the officers from the Merritt RCMP are committed to identifying and bringing to justice those who are responsible for all facets of drug trafficking in our community, from those illegally cultivating large scale cannabis operations, to the street level dial-a-dopers, no one will be overlooked in our enforcement and disruption efforts."

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