Police in Richmond, B.C. have announced that a landlord there lost his rental property to forfeiture because his tenant was growing marijuana.
Richmond RCMP officers say they busted the grow op after receiving a tip about the property. Police discovered more than 800 marijuana plants. The grow op was dismantled, and the tenant at the property was arrested.
During the investigation, officers say they found evidence of related activities at a second location in Vancouver. A subsequent search of that property turned up grow equipment, cash and documents linked to the previous property.
Police officials did not elaborate on what was found, but indicated that the documents, along with additional evidence gathered, allowed officers to make an application for the residential property in Richmond to be restrained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
In September of last year, the tenant from the Richmond property was convicted, and sentenced to several years in prison for the crimes.
The RCMP announced that the government had obtained an order for the sale of the property. The surplus from the sale of the property, after payout of the mortgage and associated costs, was just over $266,000.
The RCMP did not specifically indicate whether the landlord knew about the grow operation, however, it did issue this statement:
“Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Crown may apply for forfeiture of property used in any manner in connection with a designated drug offence such as production of marihuana, and the owner is then required to show the court that he or she appears innocent of complicity or collusion in such an offence. If the owner fails to convince the court that a return of the property is warranted, the property may be forfeited to the Crown.”
A British Columbia court recently ruled that a landlord could be found to be complicit in a tenant’s illegal activities if the landlord did not make reasonable efforts to screen tenants, and regularly inspect the rental property.
The RCMP warns that marijuana grow ops are a recurring problem that communities and their respective police agencies deal with in British Columbia and across Canada. Grow ops pose a particular problem for landlords because criminals often seek rental properties to harbor illegal activities.
In the past, Richmond RCMP says it noticed a reluctance by members of the general public to call police when they suspect there may be a marijuana grow op in a neighboring residence.
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