HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police Officers Get Bail After Grow-Op Bust
Pubdate: Sat, 5 Jul 2008
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2008 Southam Inc.
Author: Natalie Alcoba,  National Post
Bookmark: (Canadian Police)
Bookmark: (Corruption - Outside U.S.)
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


Neighbour Irked by $1,050 Bill for Electricity

A City of Vaughan notice taped yesterday on the front door of an
alleged former marijuana grow operation deems the suburban house unfit
to occupy.

A hole in the foundation of the dwelling, it says, could threaten its
structural stability or allow moisture and insects to get into the
building. "Alterations" to the electrical system also pose a danger
and the owners are ordered to fix the dwelling.

This municipal order may cause a problem for Toronto Police Constable
Kevin Bourne, 33. Police arrested him on Thursday, accusing him of
taking part in a marijuana grow-op drug ring. Yesterday a court
released him on $50,000 bail and ordered he reside in the Vania Drive
house he lived in with his wife, Wendi, and their toddler son.

His arrest came as a shock to neighbours, who always considered
themselves to be safer because they lived beside a police officer. It
has also made Jackie Rahana, who lives next door, wonder whether or
not the grow-op is behind her outrageously high hydro bills.

The last one was for $1,050, she said. Ms. Rahana says she will file a
police report to determine if her neighbours were stealing her
electricity. "I never thought that was happening there," said Ms. Rahana, 29.

"It was a police officer [living there]," added her older sister,
Juliet Rahana. "It was safe. Now you can never trust anybody any more."

Const. Bourne, with nine years of service on the Toronto force, and
Detective-Constable Patrick Lee, with eight years on the Toronto
force, are charged with participating in a criminal organization,
breach of trust and producing, possessing and trafficking marijuana.
Det.-Const. Lee, 31, is also charged with obstruction of justice,
money laundering and additional drug charges.

Twenty people are implicated in an alleged ring that produced and
distributed marijuana, trafficked in Ecstasy and steroids, and
laundered the proceeds. The list includes Adam Valenti, Danny Benipal
and Roberta McNabb, all corrections officers at the Toronto West
Detention Centre, and realtor Sam Wahab.

A source said some of the accused operated grow-ops in houses they
lived in. Neighbours on Vania Drive said a jail guard used to live in
Const. Bourne's home.

Det.-Const. Lee also owns a bar on Yonge Street in North York called
Turbo Lounge, and police yesterday said the premises is part of the
ongoing investigation. The two police officers, who have been
suspended with pay, were released on $50,000 bail after their parents
stepped forward as sureties.

The men cannot communicate with each other, nor with any other
co-accused, except for their wife and girlfriend, respectively, who
are also charged. The men must surrender their passports, stay in
Ontario, report once a week to police, not use cellphones and not
possess any marijuana growing equipment.

Justice of the Peace Rhonda Shousterman outlined for Det.-Const. Lee's
mother, who is retired, and Const. Bourne's father, who is a teacher,
what they stood to lose if their sons breached any of the court
imposed conditions and they failed to report it to police.

"I believe your son understands the sacrifice you are making," Ms.
Shousterman told Ms. Lee, who was handed a tissue to wipe away tears.

Court security opened the courthouse's back door to let the officers
leave, allowing the policemen avoid a large crowd of reporters,
photographers and television camera operators.

Gary Clewley, who represents the officers and one of the corrections
officers, reminded the public that his clients are presumed innocent.
"They were treated fairly," he told reporters outside the courthouse.
"Understandably, they're upset. Nobody wants to be in custody
especially when they're used to being on the other side, but that happens." 
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