The B.C. government is trying to seize a Langley property where guns, grenades, and stolen cars were found three years ago, claiming the farm is the proceeds of crime.
A civil forfeiture lawsuit filed on April 22 in B.C. Supreme Court claims the property and mobile home at 4096 240th Street, just off Fraser Highway, were the “proceeds and instruments of unlawful activity.”
Crimes allegedly associated with the home include drug production, possession of proceeds of crime and of stolen property, possession of unauthorized guns and body armour, and money laundering.
Police became interested in the property on Nov. 13, 2017 when members of the Vancouver Police Department tailed a stolen Infiniti to the property, and also spotted a stolen BMW on the site.
The BMW and a Dodge Ram pickup with stolen plates were later followed to various locations in Abbotsford.
A search warrant on Nov. 14 turned up seven stolen vehicles on the property or in outbuildings.
Police also discovered a passenger van that contained three M-16 rifles, five handguns, and four other firearms, along with 16 licence plates, four balaclavas and a mask, 10 rounds of ammunition and four more boxes of ammo, and an empty magazine wit a 27-round capacity.
A follow-up search of the manufactured home the next day turned up a 518-plant marijuana grow op (more than a year before commercial marijuana was legalized), two grenades, more balaclavas, body armour, a silencer, and 625 rounds of ammunition.
Seven people were arrested in the raids, but it is unclear if anyone was charged.
There were two medical marijuana production licenses attached to the property, but for just 88 plants each.
The government claims the medical licenses were “a sham” and the marijuana there was being produced for the purpose of trafficking.
None of the allegations made in the statement of claim have been tested in court. The defendants have not yet filed a response to the government’s statement of claim.
The owners, sister and brother Sunita Devi Sharma and Davinder Kumar Sharma, and their father Sewak Pal Sharma, either knew of the illegal activity or were “wilfully blind,” the government claims.
“The defendants did not have sufficient legitimate income to have acquired and maintained the property and the manufactured home,” the claim says.
Some or all of the money used to acquire the property was the proceeds of either crime, or of tax evasion, the claim says.
The 16-acre site is farm property, and despite its size it was assessed at a value of just $238,380 by B.C. Assessment in its last review.
The government can attempt to seize property and items that are allegedly the proceeds of crime, even if no criminal charges have been laid or proved against the owners.