Charges stayed from 2010 grow operation bust

RCMP drop charges on one man alleged to have been involved in a major drug operation near Penticton

Charges have been dropped against a man arrested at a major drug operation uncovered by RCMP in 2010 near Twin Lakes.

A voir dire for David McFadden was scheduled to begin Wednesday, but Crown counsel Nick Lerfold announced they are staying all charges against the man.

McFadden had been charged with production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and unauthorized possession of a firearm before the charges were dropped.

Kenneth Williams, who also was scheduled for trial on production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and unauthorized possession of a firearm, was scheduled to appear at the Penticton courthouse on Wednesday. His matter was rescheduled for Oct. 3 for a trial confirmation hearing.

In September of 2010, Penticton RCMP drug task force uncovered a drug operation in the rural area of Twin Lakes on a 20-acre property located on Grand Oro Road.

At the time, RCMP said the property had several residences and four 40-foot shipping containers that Mounties believed to have housed anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 marijuana plants.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk told the Penticton Western News at the time of the bust that one individual came out of the residence and was arrested. Another was seen fleeing from one of the residences and was not located. RCMP searched the building the man had fled from and found an automatic rifle with ammunition sitting beside one of the couches.

RCMP said they secured the scene overnight and, upon continuing the search of one of the residences, a second individual was located hiding in a closet. Moskaluk told the Western News at the time that they were “fairly certain” the individual hiding in the closet was the same person seen fleeing the property originally.

RCMP called the grow operation elaborate, given a massive generator was built into a small enclosure then buried into the hillside.

Moskaluk said the generator was powerful enough to run a fourplex building.  Given the wear and tear on the grow operation equipment, Moskaluk believed it had gone through several cycles.