Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Ellwood Shreve, Staff Writer


A $17,559 grant to the Chatham-Kent Police Service will help catch
drug dealers, but it is also designed to send a message.

Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley announced the local funding
through the Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities program, during a
news conference at police headquarters yesterday.

The aim is to help police in their efforts to prevent illegal drug and
weapons trafficking by investing money seized through the proceeds of
crime into increased enforcement.

CKPS Chief Dennis Poole said, "the funding will primarily be used for
Project Interceptor, an effort we'll be putting forward over the next
number months targeting drug dealers importing and moving illegal
drugs in Chatham."

He added the bulk of the money will be used to upgrade the training of
two police dogs in drug detection.

Bentley said the law allows the tools of crime and property obtained
through crime to be seized and forfeited to the Crown.

"Then we can turn over those proceeds to police forces to enhance
their crime fighting capacity or to the victims of crime to compensate
them for criminal activity," he said.

Bentley said to date $40 million in property along with $10 million
has been forfeited under the Civil Remedies Act.

He said the grant to the CKPS is just the beginning, noting the
Supreme Court of Canada, only a few months ago, confirmed the
forfeiture and seizure of property and money under the Civil Remedies
Act is constitutional.

"The message out there for criminals is, very clearly, if you commit
the crime, you're not only going to do the time, but you're going to
lose the property, you're going to lose the profit," Bentley said.

Chatham-Kent police collected evidence to have a Taylor Avenue
apartment building -- described as a known drug house -- seized under
Civil Remedies Act in August 2007.

And last week more than $40,000 seized by CKPS during a a September
2008 drug bust was forfeited to the government by a 25-year-old Merlin
man recently convicted of a drug charge, because it was deemed to be
the proceeds of crime.

Now that the Supreme Court ruling has come down, Poole said the
provincial government is trying to ramp up seizing more proceeds of

"Much of our focus will also centre on the seizure of assets . . .
cash, vehicles and technology that enables drug dealers to do their
business," he said.

"We hope to take the profit motive out of the illegal drug trade and
hit drug dealers in the pocketbook as well as send them to jail,"
added Poole. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr