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$22M in illegal cannabis seized during bust (4 photos)

Search warrants were executed at two greenhouse locations in Vineland and St. Catharines

NIAGARA - An investigation into illegal cannabis production in southwestern Ontario has resulted in the seizure of more than $22 million in illegal cannabis, as well as charges against six people under the Cannabis Act (CA).

On Oct. 14, 2021, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-led Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team (PJFCET) executed two CA search warrants at two greenhouse locations and two residences in Vineland and St. Catharines. As a result, PJFCET, the Provincial Asset Forfeiture Unit (PAFU) and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), along with uniform members of the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), NRPS Intelligence Unit, Street Crime Unit and Canine Unit seized over 21,000 illegal cannabis plants and over 181 kgs of processed illegal cannabis.

The total value of seized cannabis is estimated to be over $22 million.

The following six individuals have been charged under the CA with possession for the purpose of distributing, contrary to section 9(2) and cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis plant at a place that is not their dwelling-house, contrary to section 12(6)(a):
    •    Xiaoqiang Wang, 34 years old, of Toronto
    •    Xiao Chen, 34 years old, of Scarborough
    •    Erxiang Sun, 35 years old, of Scarborough
    •    Ming Hua Xue, 59 years old of Toronto
    •    Xiaping Lin, 67 years old of, St. Catharines
    •    Qiangzheng Sun, 51 years old, of St. Catharines

The accused are scheduled to appear in an Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines on Dec. 23, 2021.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact NRPS and if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

The PJFCET is responsible for enforcing the cannabis laws and investigating criminal enterprises that exploit or abuse the legal cannabis market.