From: Nora D. Shadsworth, thenorthbaybay.ca contributor
NORTH BAY — Diners at Greco’s Pizza on Algonquin Avenue had their meals interrupted Thursday evening as a joint police task force raided the well-loved restaurant in an embarrassingly botched drug bust.
“At exactly 19:00 on Thursday February 20th, an elite team of narcotics officers entered the premises of 344 Algonquin Avenue, executing a warrant after receiving tips that drugs were being stored on the property,” explains North Bay Police Sergeant Jeanette Lawrence. “It didn’t take long for us to realize we had made a terrible mistake.”
The search was the result of an ongoing investigation into suspected drug trafficking activity and comes three weeks after Ferris-area discount store Dollarama was raided under similar circumstances.
Reports of methamphetamine at the Dollarama site proved to be false, and were nothing more dangerous than the popular crystalline candy, Pop Rocks®.
During the search, police located and seized a large quantity of bagged herbs: specifically, an aromatic blend of oregano, parsley, marjoram, and basil. About $5,000 in Canadian currency and paraphernalia consistent with spice and herb processing were also seized and then quickly returned.
“These herbs are totally legal,” says Greco’s evening manager Luigi Pacino. “And even if they weren’t being used to make our delicious pizza pies, they’d be totally fine for personal use. I cook with them all the time.”
In a press release, both the Ontario Provincial Police and North Bay Police Services reminded citizens that, though it is important to be vigilant, household items such as “herbs, Popeye candy cigarettes, soap bubble pipes, catnip, or fruit gummies” are not illegal or dangerous.
Long-time co-owner Stephanie Trottier wasn’t surprised that the business, established by Oscar Greco in 1913, was targeted by the task force.
“I’ve been told our food is addictive,” she quipped.