HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Marijuana Growers Lose Houses
Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jan 2007
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Record
Author: Brian Caldwell
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Eight Homes In Region Forfeited As Part Of Aggressive Crackdown

Waterloo Region

A court decision this week doubled the number of marijuana growers 
forced to turn over their homes since local authorities began taking 
an aggressive approach to the problem five years ago.

Eight houses in Waterloo Region have now been ordered forfeited 
following changes in the law to make it easier in 2001, with another 
case scheduled for a hearing in March.

That puts local police and prosecutors on the leading edge in Ontario 
as they go after lucrative marijuana grow houses.

"From my perspective, they deserve a lot of credit," said Det. Staff 
Sgt. Tom Murphy, an OPP officer who heads a provincial unit on asset 
forfeiture. "There is a lot of work in trying to identify who is 
behind these grows."

The latest forfeiture order on four Kitchener houses was sought after 
a year-long investigation by Kitchener RCMP and Waterloo regional police.

Officers seized 593 plants from basements and charged five people, 
members of the same family who pleaded guilty to production of 
marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

They are still to be sentenced, but Justice Gary Hearn said they 
should consider the loss of their homes -- each of which had over 
$70,000 in equity -- "one of the consequences of the cost of doing business."

In all, 11 houses have been seized by local authorities, with one 
case outstanding and two returned to their owners under deals made by 

"I don't know of any jurisdiction in the country that has done more," 
said Const. Tracy Weir, the asset forfeiture officer for regional police.

Legislation in place since 2001 allows the forfeiture of houses used 
for marijuana operations as long as it would not be disproportionate 
to the crime.

Once a court order is made, houses come under the control of an arm 
of the federal department of Public Works and Government Services.

Pierre Manoni, a spokesperson for the department, said they undergo 
both health and safety inspections because of concerns including 
dangerous wiring and mould due to high humidity.

Before going on the market through real estate agents, he said, 
repairs and remedial work are done.

It is also policy to instruct realtors to disclose the home's history 
to would-be buyers, which usually reduces the selling price.

Weir said none of the forfeited homes in the region have been sold 
yet, in part because they require such extensive work.

Net proceeds from sales are split between the federal and provincial 

The federal share goes into general revenues, while the province 
earmarks its cut for various enforcement, prevention and drug 
awareness programs.

The 11 seized grow houses in the region are at: 227 Westforest Trail, 
181 Erinbrook Dr., 147 Stanley Ave., 746 Fairway Crt., 4 Wyandotte 
Crt., 31 Briarfield St., 2 Corfield Dr., 117 Oneida Pl., and 44 
Walter St. in Kitchener; 98 Peachtree Cres. in Cambridge; and 155 
Park St. in Waterloo.
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