Province files forfeiture of Sunshine Coast property allegedly linked to illegal cannabis cultivation

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The province is attempting to confiscate a $ 711,000 rural property near Powell River that is allegedly linked to an illegal cannabis operation and money laundering.

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Gordon Hoekstra png0625n tax challenge The province is attempting to confiscate a $ 711,000 rural property near Powell River that is allegedly linked to an illegal cannabis operation and money laundering. Photo by Arlen Redekop /PNG files

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The province is attempting to confiscate a $ 711,000 rural property near Powell River that is allegedly linked to an illegal cannabis operation and money laundering.

In April of that year, the RCMP raided a five-acre property with a house at 2632 Maywood Road, south of Powell River.

Police discovered illegal cannabis plants in six rooms of the home, according to a lawsuit filed by the BC Civil Forfeiture Office in the BC Supreme Court on June 7th.

The collection agency requests that the property be confiscated as “the proceeds and instrument of illegal activity”.

The allegations set out in the forfeiture lawsuit include possession, sale, cultivation, and distribution of illegal cannabis; careless handling of a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose; and failure to report taxable income.

Named in the lawsuit are Sixiao Chelsea Zhang, Wei Qi Le and Ja Yi Niu, also known as Jia Yi Niu.

Zhang and Le own the property, which was acquired in November 2020.

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“Some or all of the funds used for the acquisition and / or maintenance of the property and / or for the acquisition of the attachments were proceeds from illegal activities and / or tax evasion in violation of the Income Tax Act,” says the recovery action .

“By converting the proceeds from the illegal activity into land and attachments, the properties and attachments were used by the defendants as instruments of illegal activity, namely the laundering of proceeds from criminal offenses,” says the complaint.

The defendants did not respond to the lawsuit in court, and none of them were charged with any criminal offense in relation to any of the activities described in the confiscation lawsuit, according to an online search of BC court records.

A criminal charge is not required to assert a civil forfeiture claim. The detection limit for a civil forfeiture claim is lower than for a criminal conviction, a weighing of the probabilities instead of a justified doubt.

According to the forfeiture statement, on April 23 this year, the Powell River RCMP observed a smell of vegetative cannabis, the loud sound of operating ventilation fans, and large commercial exhaust ducts emanating from the upper and main levels of the house on the estate.

Police learned from Health Canada that there were no valid permits to own or produce cannabis on the property.

The RCMP obtained a search warrant and on April 29 located a cannabis grower with six grow rooms, 957 “illegal” cannabis plants, cannabis cultivation tools, a sketchbook detailing cannabis cultivation, as well as three improperly stored firearms and two shotguns.

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Four people were arrested at the property, including Le, Ja Niu, Jian Kang Niu, and Wong Hung. Le is the mother of Ja Niu and Jian Kang Niu is the wife of Le and the father of Ja Niu.

During the police search of the property, Ja Niu granted the RCMP cannabis possession and medicinal cannabis manufacture permits previously granted by Health Canada.

“The invalid permits were in the names of Ja Niu and Sixiao Zhang and authorized the personal production of a smaller amount of medicinal cannabis on a property other than the property,” the forbearance lawsuit said.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordon_hoekstra

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