146 cannabis plants seized in Bucalemu raid

By Kendall Thiele / The Santiago Times

SANTIAGO — Detectives, acting on an anonymous tip, found and destroyed 146 cannabis plants at a small-scale marijuana plantation Wednesday in the O’Higgins region of Chile.

The seizure of plants with a height between 30 and 122 centimeters, was recorded at the head of Las Curces located on the road towards Bucalemu.

The plantation also had a technical irrigation system which gave the officers on duty probable cause to burn the crops before receiving a warrant from a judge, sources told Santiago Times.

“This operation is a collaborative work with different institutions in the area, especially the Chilean Navy, with whom we work during the whole summer season and today we have eradicated 146 cannabis plants that were inside an estate just outside of Bucalemu” said Randolf Verdugo, the Commissioner of Brigade of Criminal investigation (BICRIM).

The Chilean government’s attitude towards marijuana has softened in the last few years since President Michelle Bachelet removed cannabis from a list of dangerous drugs.

With this measure, the personal use of marijuana remained illegal but was decriminalized and lowered as a priority to law enforcement. This rule also allowed for the medical use and distribution within pharmacies.

However, this seizure is a reminder that the sale, transport and large-volume cultivation of cannabis remains illegal and punishable.

As well, personal possession can still result in minor fines, community service or participation in a rehabilitation program.