Toronto Men Plead Guilty In Kingsville Grow-Op

Two Toronto area men have pleaded guilty to their role in a massive grow-op in Kingsville.

55-year-old Yan Quing Zhao and 35-year-old Ming Zheng admitted to production of a controlled substance through an interpreter.

The charges came from an OPP raid on a greenhouse on County Rd. 34 in Ruthven in August 2016. More than 1,700 mature marijuana plants valued at $1.7-million were found inside.

Their lawyer Bobby Russon says the men were merely gardeners and not the masterminds of the grow-op. He adds there was false documentation posted at the greenhouse suggesting a Health Canada license the men may have been fooled by.

Russon says because of the immigration implications, he is calling for a suspended sentence due to the exceptional circumstances. At most, he says 6-months less a day which would avoid deportation.

But the Crown says in other cases involving people considered farmers, the sentence is from 15 to 18 months.

Justice Renee Pomerance has ordered a pre-sentence report and the matter returns for a sentencing on Friday, February 23, 2018.