Fentanyl tablets seized by police in Calgary. (Black Press files)

B.C. moves to make seizure of drug dealers’ assets easier

Law reverses onus if cash, cars, real estate found with illegal drugs

B.C. is following the lead of other provinces to make it easier to seize cash and assets found by police with street drugs or other evidence of organized criminal activity, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.

Farnworth introduced changes to civil forfeiture legislation Tuesday to reverse the onus from police to people found with large quantities of drugs and other assets.

Farnworth said his amendments have been vetted by police and constitutional lawyers, who have seen a series of challenges to B.C.’s efforts to declare real estate, vehicles and cash as proceeds of crime and seize them whether the owners are convicted or not.

“We know that organized crime is a real problem,” Farnworth told reporters at the B.C. legislature after introducing the amendments. “People are sick and tired of the idea that criminals can engage in this and get all these assets. They may face jail time, but those assets are still there.”

READ MORE: Hells Angels clubhouses frozen for forfeiture trial

READ MORE: Abbotsford brothers can’t appeal fentanyl conviction

“For example, right now, if police were in your place and find a kilogram of fentanyl and $100,000 worth of cash in the safe, the onus is on the province, or is on the police to prove that that $100,000 is as a result of proceeds of crime,” Farnworth said.

“What these amendments will do is change the onus to place it on you to prove that that $100,000 is not criminal proceeds. So it will make it much easier to deal with cases where police come across significant amounts of drugs as well as large amounts of cash.”

B.C. is also focused on tracking of money and real estate, to get a better grip on money laundering.

“Some of the other amendments will make it easier to be able to trace financial transactions and the transfer of assets, particularly assets coming into the province from out of country,” Farnworth said. “Again, that will assist police in terms of issues such as money laundering and organized crime in general.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kootenay National Park No Stopping Zone in effect

No stopping and area closures during bear

Canal Flats Council briefs

Budgets, zoning, grants and more

Minimum wage goes up again

Increase goes in effect June 1st to $15.20

RCMP Report

Some of the more interesting callouts this past week for Columbia Valley RCMP

Recreation plans, Segways and a take-out restaurant in Radium

Eclectic collection of topics discussed at last Radium Council meeting

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

Calgary Police looking for missing man who may be heading to B.C.

A man last seen on May 15 in Calgary may be heading to the Kootenay region, according to police

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Most Read