When children get caught up in grow-op busts
When police bust a grow-op they're supposed to find bags of marijuana plants.
But during a recent bust in British Columbia's central Okanagan region, they also found a little girl celebrating her second birthday.
This may sound ridiculous and pathetic. But it's apparently not rare.
"It's quite common. said Const. Doug Marshinew, a member of an Okanagan marijuana investigation team.
"That's why we involve our partners in the Ministry of Social Services. Hopefully [we can] take these kids out of an environment like this,'' Marshinew said.
In a month-long crackdown in the central Okanagan, the Mounties busted 25 marijuana grow-operations, yielding 1,500 kilograms of marijuana.
Six of those grow-ops, were home to children.
Neighbours can only shake their heads.
"I've got a little angst in me,'' said a woman named Susan, who lives beside one of the busted grow-ops
"I don't want to be involved with any of these kinds of people making their money off that, and feeding the kids. and a two year old's birthday? " Susan said.
The police say there are risks of electrical shock or fire. There are impacts from mould and fungus, and the entire household faces a higher risk of violent crime.
"And into all of this you're bringing children,'' said RCMP Const. Steve Holmes
Initially, in such situations, the child is taken from the parents.
But in most cases, they will be returned to them when the parents are release from custody, which is usually within hours.
During the recent crackdown, an arsenal of guns was also seized, and the police allege that several of the grow-ops have links to organized crime.
It's a dangerous world for anyone, including the children who have no choice but to be a part of it.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat