CALGARY, Alberta – Police in Calgary believe they have uncovered a sophisticated marijuana growing, smuggling, and distribution network after a major bust made yesterday afternoon in downtown Calgary. The criminal group responsible for the operation has very close ties with downtown Calgary’s notorious YYCBike Boys.
The Calgary Police Service found 167 marijuana plants hidden amongsts the thousands of exotic tropical plants that call the Devonian Gardens home, which is located in an atrium atop one of downtown Calgary’s busiest shopping centres.
“The idea to conceal cannabis plants within plain site of mall staff, security, and the general public was simply genius, but we still nabbed them. After we located the first plant, however, it took a team of 12 officers nearly 2 days to locate the other 166 plants, thanks to their clever integration into the background flora. This is the 3rd largest marijuana bust made in a downtown Calgary mall, and we’re just glad that we’re doing our part to keep this stuff out of the area offices.” – Staff Sergeant Paul Arrestyanow
According to police reports, the guerrilla grow-op had been in operation for at least 7 years – even throughout the area’s extensive renovations – although officials were not clear when the first plants were planted.
The group responsible for the grow-op would routinely send in a group of unofficial garden maintenance workers to the Devonian Gardens once a week to trim the plants. But the trimmings weren’t waste, but rather some of the best buds from a variety of marijuana strains popular amongst the downtown office crowds.
Some of the yield was sold locally in quiet and dark corners of the mall, particularly in the ground floor food court area of the Scotia Center on 7th avenue, while the rest of it was wheeled away by a number of bicycle courier runners, as they are called in the downtown drug circles.
The courier runners would then conceal the marijuana in envelopes, packages, map rolls, and parcels of various sizes, and deliver them to receptionists in 87% of the downtown offices, where they were later distributed to end users via Inter-Office mail envelopes. All this to satisfy the insatiable appetite for drugs throughout the oil and gas professional crowd.
The Calgary Police Service was shocked to learn of the sheer sophistication of the operation, and are quite embarrassed to admit that it had been going on under its nose for years.
When asked by 2P News reporter Rodecker Smith how they caught the criminals, Sergeant Arrestyanow continued, “Well, it turns out that the garden maintenance crews would spray a chemical on the cannabis plants every week that would suppress the skunk odour. But a mixup in their vacation planner had the plants go almost 5 weeks without spraying, and that’s when people started to notice the smell, including our investigators. We setup a sting operation and here we are today.”
I could notice a faint smell that reminded me of skunks that become stronger and stronger as the weeks went by. I figured that they had added baby skunks to the local fauna, but I never saw skunks of any kind. It was strange. – Dr. Rachel Sharpkoch, Devonian Garden regular.
Bruce “handle bars” Spokely, the kingpin for the operation, who was in charge of the bicycle courier network of the operation, was arrested and charged with trespassing, possession, trafficking, and intent to sell marijuana.
Also arrested and charged were 21 others who took part in various activities related to the operation. All of those arrested plan to plead not guilty to all charges and they maintain that they were under the impression that it was licensed medicinal marijuana being legally delivered to downtown Calgary’s hard-working oil and gas professionals, who all had prescriptions.