Pubdate: Wed, 05 Dec 2007
Source: Terrace Standard (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Terrace Standard
Author: Margaret Speirs
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


Terrace RCMP are preventing a house they allege contained a marijuana
grow op from being disposed of until a criminal trial is over, a
tactic they say they will use again.

And if the trial finds those charged with production of a controlled
substance and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of
trafficking guilty, police say they'll seek to seize the house and
sell it.

The initial freeze on the house on the 4700 Block of Halliwell by the
BC Supreme Court means it can't be sold or have its title transferred
to someone else.

Lawrence and Lynda Tallon face drug charges after police officers
seized 150 marijuana plants and a "substantial amount" of harvested
marijuana when they raided the house Sept. 12.

They are to appear in Terrace Provincial Court Dec.

"Marijuana grow operations are a financially-motivated crime and the
chance of losing property to the Crown may have a deterrent effect on
these criminals," a police press release said last week.

The residence, in the 4700 block of Halliwell, will be managed by the
Seized Property Management Directorate (SPMD), a little known agency
of the federal Public Works Canada department, until all matters are
dealt with in court.

Although not used much in smaller centres such as Terrace, Section 14
means that any property found to be used in an offence can be frozen.

The list could include vehicles found to be used to transport drugs,
says local RCMP Staff Sergeant Eric Stubbs.

Restraint orders identify the roles and responsibilities of the SPMD
and the registered owner of the restrained property, according to
federal official Lucie Brosseau.

Although restraint orders can vary, generally the registered owner of
a house is responsible to maintain insurance, heat and hydro, regular
maintenance and mortgage payments, she said.

The order permits SPMD to enter the premises to inspect and appraise
the value and condition of the home after properly notifying the owner.

If the accused is found guilty, the property may be forfeited as part
of sentencing.

The SPMD would decide how and when to sell the property through public
sales and auctions to ensure market value is received. The property is
sold by public works realty services or a private realty brokerage.

Net proceeds are shared with provincial and foreign governments
according to the level of involvement of law enforcement agencies.

The taxpayer does not pay for the management or disposal of seized and
forfeited assets, Brosseau said.

All the costs are covered from the sale of the property, before
sharing the net proceeds with governments.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin