A Vancouver man who was arrested driving away from a British Properties home where police seized more than 600 marijuana plants has been found guilty of running an illegal grow-op.
Jian Neng Zhu, 37, was found guilty of two drug charges - production of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking - following a trial before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein.
Zhu was charged after he was nabbed driving away from a house on West Vancouver's Laurie Crescent in June 2010 that police had been watching as part of an investigation into a suspected grow-op.
Const. Steve Gray of the West Vancouver Police Department testified during the trial he began investigating in the spring of 2010 after receiving a tip from a neighbour. Gray said during surveillance, officers noted all the windows of the house were boarded up and a smell of marijuana appeared to be coming from the home. A black Acura registered to Zhu was seen parked in the driveway.
Zhu had just left the house on June 1, 2010 when police raided the home under a search warrant. "As soon as the door opened, there was a huge blast of the stench of vegetative marijuana," said Gray, adding it was "very humid in house."
Gray said he noticed two or three large silver ducts leading from the basement, as well as wires going downstairs.
Police found the grow-op in a series of basement rooms, including plants in various stages of growth. Each of the grow rooms had large lamps with silver reflective material like Mylar draped around the walls and ceiling. "It was intensely hot," said Gray.
Authorities later confirmed there was a tap into the electrical system that bypassed the Hydro meter.
Under cross-examination by Zhu's lawyer, Gray confirmed he had no dealings with the owners of the home where the grow-op was discovered.
Zhu's sentencing hearing is in January in B.C. Supreme Court.
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