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Sunday, March 3, 2024
Police bust illegal grow-op in Virgil

Niagara Regional Police are continuing their investigation into a large illegal marijuana grow-op on Concession 4 Road.

Last Thursday, police seized 1,031 marijuana plants and dismantled the growing operation. The seized marijuana plants have a street value of more than $1 million, police said.

“The grow operation was not licensed for cannabis growth and production under current legislation,” said Const. Phil Gavin in an email response to The Lake Report. “It was operating covertly.”

The property belongs to Mori Nurseries, owned by Leno Mori.

In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Mori said police made a mistake busting the operation.

“They’re wrong and I think they’re going to be in trouble. I mean, the police,” Mori said. “We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

When contacted again, Mori said he only rented the greenhouse and declined to comment any further.

The company head office is located on Niagara Stone Road. About 100 acres of prime land, including the greenhouse, is also listed for sale.

For the past month, residents have complained about odour and suspicious behaviour, police said. As a result of their complaints, an investigation was launched.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero said the Town learned about the grow-op over a month ago. She said once she learned about it, she reported it to the town’s building services department which, in its turn, reported it to police.

“Police have asked us to let them do their thing and that’s exactly what we did,” Disero told The Lake Report.

“At that point, it was in the police’s hands. For me, to do my own investigation, separate from the police, would be the wrong thing to do. I don’t want to interfere with what they’re doing,” she said.

Coun. Wendy Cheropita said the greenhouse has been empty for a long time and she thinks the grow-op “popped up very quickly.”

“We have a process internally and it’s important people follow the internal process,” she said.

Police searched the property Thursday, Sept. 19, and arrested the only man there. The man was tending to marijuana plants, police said.

He was later released from custody and no charges have been laid yet.

“This investigation is continuing and police may proceed with charges in the near future,” police said in a statement.

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