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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Vancouver police have seized a westside house worth $1.2 million under civil forfeiture laws.

    Insp. Brad Desmarais said the seizure of the house, in which police found a marijuana grow-op, is the largest-ever seizure by VPD.

    Desmarais said the number of grow-ops in the city has declined dramatically since police started using civil forfeiture to seize assets when the new legislation came into effect five years ago.

    Solicitor General Rich Coleman said the tactic of seizing assets is "one more way we're making gang life less attractive and organized crime unwelcome in B.C."

    "More than $600,000 was forfeited to the province in this case - and that's just a small part of the more than $5 million we took away from organized crime and unlawful activity during 2010."

    The value of assets seized throughout B.C. last year was up $2 million over 2009.

    Desmarais said police executed a search warrant at the West 53rd Avenue house in 2009 and discovered a 959-plant grow-op.

    Because the person listed on the title did not appear to be the real owner of the house, it was difficult to proceed criminally, Desmarais said.

    The property has now been forfeited, remediated and sold to new owners unrelated to the forfeiture action.

    Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said "civil forfeiture actions like this help to ensure that criminals do not profit from lucrative and dangerous activities."

    "Increasingly, we are referring cases for civil forfeiture as one more tool to curb public-safety risks like those posed by grow-ops, which often create fire and electrocution risks, threatening the lives of first responders and other innocent people," he said.

    In 2010, the provincial Civil Forfeiture office concluded 74 cases and seized 18 properties throughout B.C., six vehicles and 56 cash seizures. And police referred 105 new files that are now under investigation. In 2006, B.C. became the second Canadian jurisdiction with a civil forfeiture program targeting the tools and proceeds of unlawful activity.

    By Kim Bolan,
    Postmedia News
    January 11, 2011



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