A rural Slocan man has been jailed nine months for growing pot and the house where the plants where seized partially forfeited to the Crown.
The order this month by a judge in Nakusp Provincial Court will see a half-interest in the Springer Creek Road property turned over to the government as proceeds of crime.
Slocan Lake RCMP searched the property on December 30 and discovered two buildings with grow-ops. They found 53 plants, each producing nearly 1.5 lbs. of bud. A loaded, unsecured 9 mm handgun was also recovered from inside the home.
Gordie Radatzke pled guilty to drug production for the purpose of trafficking and in addition to the jail sentence received a lifetime firearms ban.
“This investigation illustrates the enforcement efforts by the Slocan Lake detachment over the past year and a half,” Cst. Shaun Foley said in a news release. “During this time, members have successfully executed 16 drug warrants in the Slocan Valley, and have secured charges in at least as many.”
Foley adds they have also executed two projects targeting outdoor growers.
“These projects are important initiatives because outdoor cultivators typically feel they can operate with impunity. However, police efforts like these prove otherwise.”
Foley says it’s not the only case where drug offences have resulted in property forfeitures. Restraint orders have been placed on others, and in January a judge ordered $15,000 cash seized during an outdoor grow-op investigation to be turned over to the Crown.
“A recent drug investigation also revealed a house in Winlaw contained a clandestine lab. It was using a dangerous extraction technique where isopropyl alcohol is used to extract weed oil from marijuana plant material,” Foley says.
“Moreover, in the past year members have seized a loaded firearm or firearm within arm’s reach of ammunition in seven drug investigations.”
He says the presence of guns is not rare, since many growers are at risk of being ripped off by rivals. “Many grow rips occur in the form of home invasions which typically involve forcefully breaking into a home, whether the occupants are there or not, to steal the drugs. Cultivators, therefore, often protect themselves using the most reliable means: guns and other weapons.”
Last week, police seized a cache of weapons from a Winlaw home along with half a pound of packaged bud. The occupant pled guilty and received a three-month intermittent jail sentence.