House fire leads to drug charges against Mark Edward French, Stouffville

Members working out of the York Regional Police Drugs and Vice Unit have charged a 29-year-old man with drug-related charges after a large house fire occurred yesterday in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

On Monday, January 31, 2011, at approximately 1 p.m., York Regional Police, the Whitchurch Stouffville Fire Department and York Region Emergency Medical Services responded to a house fire at 55 Merdock Court. Two victims located on the main and upper floor of the home were evacuated by two citizens who provided assistance and shelter. They were treated for minor injuries as a result of the fire. The home sustained damage estimated in the area of $450,000.

A joint investigation by officers from the Drugs and Vice Unit and the #5 District Criminal Investigations Bureau, in conjunction with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, has revealed that the fire started due to activities that were consistent with illicit drug production. Investigators believe that the basement area of the home was being used as a laboratory to process marihuana into Cannabis Resin.

As a result, on the afternoon of Monday, January 31, 2011, the 29-year-old basement occupant was arrested without incident.

CHARGED:

• Mark Edward FRENCH, 29, of Stouffville

CHARGES INCLUDE:
• Production of a Controlled Substance
• Possession of a Controlled Substance
• Breach of Probation

Mr. French has been held in custody and is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket on Friday, February 4, 2011.

The investigation is ongoing at this time.

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