HEMP STORE RAIDED
Police Seize Narcotics And $240,000 In Cash
The owner of a downtown hemp shop made his first court appearance
Friday after police raided his store and found a substantial quantity
of narcotics and $240,000 in cash -- marking the largest seizure of
money from a drug bust in Windsor history.
The search Thursday around 1 p.m. of Harvest Moon also uncovered loose
marijuana, 85 marijuana plants, and psilocybin -- commonly known as
magic mushroom -- which police estimate together have a street value
"The drug enforcement officers took a couple of hours to search the
place," Windsor police spokesman Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton said Friday.
"It's a relatively small business but they had to look through
"They found cash and drugs all over the entire building, on counters,
under counters, under cash registers, in back rooms, in closets.
Almost every area in the business had either cash or drugs."
Now stored in the evidence room of a Windsor police station, the loose
drugs are stuffed in several large freezer-style plastic bags, as is
the money -- in every denomination up to $100 bills ($218,000
Canadian, $22,000 American) -- which would fill a large daypack.
Officers reportedly spent five hours counting the money, even with the
help of a money counter, which was seized during a raid of a local
grow house and recently purchased by Windsor police from the Seized
Property Management Directorate.
The confiscated cash and drugs will be kept as evidence until the
resulting court case ends.
If there is a conviction, they may be turned over to the federal
government in accordance with Canada's proceeds of crime law.
"The total amount of cash is very significant and I think, needless to
say, they were selling more than knick-knacks in this business,"
During the search, police said many would-be customers approached the
store but were turned away.
Police also seized a hatchet and two knives from behind the counter,
but let the owner's pet pit bull remain behind with food and water,
and the assistance of the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society.
Harvest Moon owner Nick Minardi, 41, was arrested without incident
during the raid and appeared briefly in court Friday facing charges of
production of a controlled substance, as well as trafficking and
possession of illegal drugs.
The Crown alleges Minardi trafficked marijuana June 29, July 5 and
His next scheduled court appearance is Monday.
Disappointed shoppers Friday at Harvest Moon, in an older grey-stone
and red-brick low-rise building at Park and Pelissier streets, were
greeted with a sign reading "Puff. We're closed."
Billed in neon as a "Hemp store & more," with a window-sized cannabis
leaf, the five-year-old shop displays such fare as hemp products,
pipes, posters and a sign saying "Deadhead parking only."
A neighbour in the building, who wished not to be named, was shocked
to learn that the Harvest Moon proprietor allegedly offered narcotics.
"He was very personable," the neighbour said.
"And he had a pretty standard clientele. There were all age groups,
from 18 to 65.
"And there was a whole cross-section of socio-economic backgrounds.
Then there were the kids on the weekend."
The neighbour said Minardi generally stuck to his advertised store
hours of noon until 5:30 p.m.
"There was no weird activity at night," the neighbour said. "He closed
at a normal time. It seemed like a normal business."
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