Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell and Roberta Avery
Note: This article is posted as an exception to MAP policies not to archive 
minor pre-trial arrest stories, and not to alter archived articles from 
what is published.  In light of the novelty of these charges, in a 
justified exception to our usual policies, this article is archived with 
the names of the accused redacted.


Six Told Not To Contact Building Owner

Ninth Man In Hospital, Misses Hearing

BARRIE--Bail conditions for six of the nine men charged in connection with 
Canada's largest marijuana bust included an order to not contact the 
building's owner, a real estate magnate whose companies manage properties 
across southern Ontario and Montreal.

No explanation was offered to the court as to why the accused were not to 
communicate with Vincent De Rosa and his company, Fercan Developments, 
which owns the landmark former Molson brewery where 30,000 plants were 
seized from a vast hydroponic growing operation police described as a 
high-tech marijuana factory.

They were also ordered not to contact Bob De Rosa, the manager of Vicar 
Properties, a subsidiary of Fercan, which was based at the site, as well as 
employees from Fercan's Multi-Brand Foods and other business tenants at the 
former brewery: National Roasters, Very Good Fish Company, Smitty's 
Transport and Arcade Trucking.

The unexplained conditions are only part of a tangled business web that has 
enveloped the property since police discovered the round-the-clock factory, 
which used what were giant beer vats as hot houses to produce an estimated 
$100-million worth of marijuana annually.

Italo Ferrari, a Fercan executive, told the Hamilton Spectator he knew 
nothing of the marijuana operation and would not comment on the 
relationship between Vince De Rosa, a St. Catharines businessman, and Bob 
De Rosa. National Roasters also lists Nicola De Rosa, from Niagara-on-the 
Lake, as its executive.

"You can look at it any way you want," Ferrari said bluntly as he strode 
out of his office on the third floor of the Hamilton City Centre, which his 
company owns.

"We're the landlords and we're renting the property up there. We don't know 
who comes and who goes."

After bail hearings in Barrie bail court yesterday, Justice of the Peace 
Sue Hilton released eight of the nine men charged with production and 
possession of marijuana in connection with Saturday's raid on bail ranging 
from $10,000 to $20,000.

The six with bail conditions are [NAME DELETED], 34, of St. Catharines, 
[NAME DELETED], 49, of St. Catharines, [NAME DELETED], 33, of Corunna, 
Ont., [NAME DELETED], 24, of Niagara Falls, Ont., [NAME DELETED], 36, of 
St. Catharines and [NAME DELETED], 43, of Niagara Falls, Ont.

Randall Barrs, a lawyer for five of the men -- [NAMES DELETED], -- said his 
clients were not found inside the former brewery next to Highway 400, and 
questioned the strength of the crown's case.

[NAME DELETED], 23, of Toronto and [NAME DELETED], 29, of Stayner were also 
released but their bail conditions cannot be reported because of a 
court-ordered publication ban.

All eight were ordered to return to court Feb. 11.

[NAME DELETED], 60, of Toronto, the ninth man charged, was unable to attend 
his bail hearing because he is in hospital, court heard.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman