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Grow-Op House Seized by Authorities

By Hempology | March 11, 2007

Regina Leader Post

A Regina house has been seized under provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Earlier this week, Regina Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Guy Chicoine agreed to issue orders of restraint and management against a house at 106 Hawkes Bay.

The house was one of several properties searched in November during a major drug bust by Regina and area police.

In total, more than 2,400 marijuana plants were located in 12 properties at or near Regina, White City and Kronau during a synchronized series of raids. One of the properties searched was the Hawkes Bay address.

According to the restraint and management order, that home’s owner is Hon Thi Nguyen, who is one of about 10 people facing drug charges in relation to the November bust.

It is alleged 336 growing marijuana plants were found inside the Hawkes Bay house.

Federal Crown prosecutor Hal Wellsch said the case against the 10 has not yet been set down for a trial or preliminary hearing as information is still being exchanged between lawyers in the case.

He explained the purpose of restraint and management orders is to prevent anything further being done with a property by the accused person, such as selling or otherwise transferring the property. That differs from the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act ( SCAN ) in how it affects the homeowner.

“SCAN actually will remove people from the neighbourhood, so if it’s a renter for example, or even a property owner, SCAN has the ability to physically remove the people,” he said. “( Under restraint and management orders ) we restrain the property based on the fact that it is either an offence-related property or proceeds of crime, and we will be seeking then forfeiture of any equity in the property at the end of the day under Section 490 of the Criminal Code.”

Under restraint and management orders, third parties — such as mortgage companies — can also have a say in what happens to the property, Wellsch explained.

“If there is a mortgage on the property, which there would be on Hawkes ( Bay ), then the mortgage company would still have the right to do whatever they see fit, as far as foreclosure on the property,” he said.

“And we would only be interested in any equity over and above what the mortgage company might be interested in in the property. So we can’t affect a third-party right to deal with it.

“We can only affect, through the restraint order, the ability of the owner to deal with it,” he said.

Wellsch said these types of orders are used “a fair amount” when dealing with houses connected to drug activity.

Those charged with using their properties to carry out drug activity may also face eviction under the provincial Justice Department’s SCAN Act. The purpose of that act is to improve community safety by targeting and, if necessary, shutting down properties that are used for illegal activities, such as drug activity, child pornography, solvent abuse or prostitution, among other activities.

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