State seizes grow-op houses

Police referred these two files involving marijuana grows to the province after charges were stayed on both.

Two addresses that were home to marijuana grows have been successfully forfeited under the Civil Forfeiture Act. These are the first ever forfeitures in Terrace.

Police referred these two files involving marijuana grows to the Civil Forfeiture Office of the Ministry of Justice after charges were stayed on both.

“Terrace’s first two successful civil forfeitures are big wins, in terms of the clear public safety issues they address,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond. “These add to the growing list of properties we’ve taken out of business, which have ranged from stucco mansions to rural out-buildings – many of them containing hydroponic equipment, dangerous wiring, hydro diverters to steal power and hundreds of marijuana plants.”

On January 27, 2009 police executed two search warrants for marijuana grows in Terrace. The first was at 4740 Soucie Ave. Police located 26 pounds of harvested marijuana bud and a hydro bypass. The second search warrant was at 3515 King Ave. Police located 200 plants and a hydro bypass at this address.

Cpl. Mike Dame, Terrace General Investigation Unit, says, “We are dedicated to collecting evidence that leads to criminal charges. Unfortunately there are times when sufficient admissible evidence to support criminal convictions is not available. We refer such files to the Civil Forfeiture Office. The forfeiture of properties and assets is an increasingly successful and effective tool being employed against criminals in efforts to interfere with their ability to continue criminal activity.”

Cases which do not meet the threshold for charge approval or criminal conviction may be pursued through the British Columbia Civil Forfeiture Act (2006). The BC Civil Forfeiture Office, part of the Ministry of Justice, assesses the referrals and, where appropriate, undertakes a civil lawsuit action in BC Supreme Court seeking forfeiture of property that is an instrument, or proceeds, of unlawful activity.

Unlawful activity includes any Federal or Provincial offence including production of marijuana, street racing and fraud. Upon proving the Director’s case against the property, the onus rests with the property owner to prove to a court that it is not in the interest of justice to order forfeiture of the property.