Bizarre bust involved bears as guardians of illegal pot farm

The supposed guardians of an illegal pot farm discovered recently in British Columbia were big and burly, but curiously mellow.

They were black bears, more than a dozen, and their behavior, along with that of a friendly raccoon and a crashed-out pot-bellied pig, has led to speculation that these critters might have been fed more than just food by the man and woman running the farm.

“We don’t have any evidence of that, but it might be reason for their laid-back attitude,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Fred Mansveld told the Vancouver Sun.

The pot farm was discovered when officers issued a warrant on the Christina Lake property on July 30, but the story didn’t sprout legs until last week, when the bizarre news regarding the animals began to circulate in various media reports.

Police believe the man and woman, who were arrested on charges of illegal cultivation and possession of marijuana, fed the bears dog food to keep them around to deter other people from stumbling upon more than 1,000 pot plants growing on the property.

But for whatever reason, these were mellower than your average bears. They strolled from the woods, some of them with cubs, and greeted police in a manner uncharacteristic even for bears that are used to being around people.

“The ones that are used to people are quite wary of you,” Dave Smith, an RCMP constable, explained to the Sun. “They don’t just sit there and watch you, and these bears were just sitting around, laying around just watching, wandering around.”

Smith described the setting as “a cross between Jurassic Park and Jellystone Park.”

Inside one of two houses on the property, a raccoon snoozed “spread-eagled on the bed, like a cat,” Smith said. The critter awoke and followed officers as they searched the premises, and had to be shooed away when it began to rummage through a box of evidence.

In the other house, a pot-bellied pig slept through the entire search.

Unfortunately, the critters now face an uncertain future. The bears will be evaluated to determine whether they can fend for themselves in a natural setting, and those that continue to associate humans for handouts will be deemed a safety threat and might have to be destroyed.

That, of course, would be a major bummer.

— Photo of policeman with laid-back bears at a Christina Lake pot farm courtesy of the RCMP