The province seeks to have forfeited two Chilliwack properties valued at more than $2 million allegedly linked to drug trafficking and money laundering.
In B.C. Supreme Court at the end of March, the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Officer filed an application to have forfeited properties at 48055 Yale Road and 48696 McGuire Road in Chilliwack as the “proceeds and instruments of unlawful activity.”
Named in the forfeiture suit are Anh Tuan Le, Thi Kim Dung Tran and Tien Dat Nguyen.
Le is the owner of the Yale Road property valued at $644,000, while Tran and Nguyen are listed as owners of the McGuire Road property valued at $1.397 million, according to B.C. Assessment Authority records.
Le and Tran are, or were, married or common-law spouses, according to the forfeiture suit.
Among the allegations listed in the forfeiture suit are production, possession, possession for the purpose of trafficking and trafficking controlled substance, distribution, selling, propagating and harvesting cannabis contrary to the Cannabis Act.
Also listed are theft of electricity, possession of the proceeds of crime, wilfully causing an event to occur contrary to the Criminal Code, mischief, arson, money laundering and failure to declare taxable income.
None of the defendants have been charged criminally in relation to the activities outlined in the forfeiture suit or have responded in court to the allegations, according to an online search of B.C. court records.
The threshold for proving a civil forfeiture claim is lower than for a criminal conviction, a balance of probabilities instead of beyond a reasonable doubt.
On January 3, 2021 the Chilliwack RCMP were called to the Yale property to help the Chilliwack Fire Department with a house fire.
An RCMP investigation into the fire found that the fire was “consistent with arson” and various equipment, devices and other items used in the production of drugs were found in the basement.
Two men who identified themselves as owners of the Yale property were present when the firefighters arrived but departed a short time later, according to the forfeiture suit.
On Jan. 3 and 4, the RCMP used a search warrant to enter the Yale property and found a fentanyl production lab in the basement, according to the suit.
An investigation by the RCMP found that Le was frequently observed at both the Yale and McGuire properties, and that Le and Tran lived at the McGuire property, according to the forfeiture suit.
The police also learned that Le had authorization to produce 438 cannabis plants for his own medical use at the Yale property that was valid until Feb. 30, 2021 and that he had applied to Health Canada to renew the licence.
On Jan. 22, the RCMP used a search warrant to enter the McGuire property and found 2,346 cannabis plants, 0.1 grams of cocaine and a garage with various equipment, devices and other items used in the production of drugs, which was the same type of equipment found at the Yale property.
Also found was $42,000 in foreign currency, $4,270 in Canadian currency, a purse containing $730 in Canadian currency and three cellphones.
Also located were records of transactions, called score sheets, that included information on sales, collections and debts, according to the forfeiture suit.
The RCMP found that three individuals who did not reside at the McGuire property held valid Health Canada permits to produce cannabis for their own use totalling 1,358 plants.