Theft of electricity file uncovers grow op in Ootischenia

RCMP and Castlegar Crime Reduction Unit arrest female over marijuana grow op

The RCMP and members of the Crime Reduction Unit from Castlegar executed a search warrant on a residence on Columbia Road in Ootischenia on Tuesday, May 7.

An adult female was arrested the evening of Monday, May 6 and is facing three charges: theft of electricity, possession of a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Cpl. Darryl Orr, of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment, said the police were following up on a theft report filed by a FortisBC revenue protection contractor.

“We executed the search warrant today but we had a guard on the house overnight to maintain continuity of the house while the warrant was being prepared,” said Orr.

Orr said it’s always a risk to have a member observing a rural property at night.

“It’s not something we like to do all the time but we didn’t have a choice and had to write the search warrant for today,” he said. “Fortunately, nothing happened and the house was empty when we executed the warrant. It [the grow op] was completely in the lower level; the upper level would have looked like any other house you would have walked into — it was probably one of the cleanest residences I’ve ever been in that had a grow op in the basement.”

He added it has been at least a year and a half since he was involved in a theft of electricity case.

“I’ve been involved in about 15 theft of electricity files and in all but one, the reason for the bypass was to power the electricity for a growing operation,” Orr said. “Any grow up with 1,000 watt light bulbs consumes an extraordinary amount of power.”