Province hopes civil forfeiture laws can take profit out of B.C.’s drug trade
The province is using civil legislation in an effort to put a dent in B.C.’s drug trade.
On Friday, police announced a host of criminal charges following Project Trooper, a six-month police investigation that led to the seizure of thousands of fentanyl pills as well as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, a dozen guns, several vehicles and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
Perhaps as significant were civil forfeiture actions against Dennis Halstead, one of the six people targeted in Project Trooper.
Among his assets are a $2-million home in Coquitlam, the proceeds from the sale of an East Vancouver apartment building and a Porsche Cayenne.
In some respects, civil forfeiture may be more effective than criminal charges.
“B.C. leads the way with that,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Morris. “Back when I was in the police force, it was something that I really liked when I saw this coming down the road. It gives the police an opportunity to forward recommendations to the civil forfeiture office so they can have a look at it and see if all the requirements are in place to seize those goods and then turn the money over to fight crime.”
The government hopes such civil seizures can take the profit out of the drug trade and send a message to would-be drug dealers that their wealth may be short-lived.
– With files from John Daly