Vancouver firefighter arrested over home grow op
Published Sunday, April 15, 2007 9:29PM EDT
A Vancouver firefighter has been placed on administrative leave after police raided his home over an alleged marijuana grow op.
"This member is 44 years of age and has been with the department for 24 years," Rob Jones-Cook, a Vancouver fire department spokesman, told CTV British Columbia about Randall Jones.
The firefighter's home is across from an elementary school in the Vancouver suburb of Delta. He lives there with his wife and three young sons.
On Thursday, Delta police executed a search warrant and arrested Jones.
In the basement of the home, they allegedly found a marijuana grow op consisting of 380 plants.
The estimated street value of that quantity of drug is $140,000.
"It's certainly our opinion in this case that this is not a personal use situation," said Const. Sharlene Brooks of the Delta police.
"We're looking at 380 plants. That's a midsized marijuana grow operation."
Recommended charges include production of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking, she said.
The Delta police issued a news release on Friday, but they didn't name Jones or say he was a firefighter.
The release did talk about the fire dangers of grow ops.
"In this particular case, the marijuana grow operation was located in a residence very close to an elementary school placing surrounding residents and children at risk of harm in the event of a fire or a 'grow rip' situation," it said.
A meeting has been held with Jones. He had union representation at it, Jones-Cook said.
"As a result of that, he is now on administrative leave without pay until further notice, and that would be pending the outcome of any court case," he said.
Jones himself would not speak with CTV B.C., pronouncing himself "not interested."
Neighbour Liv Hagman, who watched the police carry out the raid, said she was surprised: "It's because they looked like a good family."
Jones-Cook noted that firefighters are often called on to dismantle home-based grow ops.
"I think it's fair to say members of the public hold us to a pretty high standard, and it's important to us to live up to that standard," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson