1. Alfa

    Auctioned Equipment Seized

    Drug dealers will no longer be able to buy equipment used to grow
    high-grade pot from federal government auctions, Public Works Minister
    Scott Brison announced yesterday. Brison said the feds have now
    "frozen" the sale of equipment, such as lights, fans and ventilators,
    seized during drug raids which is later sold by the government.

    The move comes after reports that drug dealers busted during an August
    raid on a grow operation north of Toronto got their hands on hundreds
    of pieces of equipment sold by Public Works in order to run an illegal
    $1.1-million grow operation.

    "When I became aware of the situation, I decided to put an immediate
    freeze on any transactions of this nature," Brison told the Commons.

    "There will be no reselling of this type of paraphernalia or equipment
    that is used in hydroponic grow operations."

    Brison has also asked his department staff to review how Public Works
    auctions are organized, how people get access to the goods and the
    security around the events. The equipment police seized during the
    August raid north of Toronto was eventually traced to other drug raids
    dating back to 1999.

    York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge, who raised the case,
    called it "disheartening" to drug officers to seize equipment at a
    raid, only to find that it had been seized before and made its way
    back into the hands of criminals.

    Brison's spokesman, Susan Murray, said the minister called La Barge to
    inform him of the freeze.


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