Pubdate: Wed, 26 Nov 2003
Source: Surrey Now (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc., A Canwest Company
Author: Tom Zytaruk
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


Canadian and U.S. authorities seized boats, an airplane, replica police 
raid jackets, bales of cash, pot and guns from houses in the Fraser Valley 
during a year-long investigation involving nine agencies, authorities 
revealed yesterday.

The RCMP's Newton-based Pacific Integrated Border Team seized 1,800 pot 
plants from a house in Maple Ridge in February. Resulting from that raid, a 
house in B.C.'s Interior was searched and $262,000 Cdn, $6,000 US, four 
loaded handguns and a stolen boat worth $50,000 were seized.

And then stemming from this investigation, two kilograms of cocaine were 
seized last week in the Lower Mainland, as well as a Cessna 172 airplane, 
three stolen boats and trailers worth $300,000, two automatic sub machine 
guns - one a Second World War German MP40 combat infantry gun - as well as 
revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, shot guns, rifles, hundreds of rounds of 
ammo, 3,300 pot plants and replica police jackets.

In one house, police found loaded semi-automatic handguns under every bed.

"These are the type of people that we're dealing with," said the unit's 
Const. Alex Borden.

IBET and eight other Canadian and U.S. agencies are involved in the 

Five women and five men have been arrested and released pending charges. 
Five U.S. residents have also been arrested.

Police believe the trafficking scheme connected B.C. with California.

Borden said the people behind these crimes are clearly an organized group 
involved in setting up pot grows in houses.

"It's not our biggest seizure but it's certainly very significant," he said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is also involved in the investigation.

"The DEA has arrived finally in Vancouver and opened an office in January," 
said Ken Peterson, DEA resident agent in charge.

Peterson noted the DEA assigned an agent to the case for 90 days and is 
looking at assigning an agent permanently to the IBET.

"The investigation does illustrate how criminals have no borders," Peterson 
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager