Cash, cars, computer equipment sought for forfeiture

Items sought were seized throughout Surrey, during police and border investigations.

Seized cash, cars, cellphones and iPads are among dozens of items being sought for forfeiture.

Notices issued today (Jan. 29) by the Civil Forfeiture Office explain that the items were seized because there was evidence that they had been obtained by and/or used in the commission of an offence or offences. The proceedings, however, are not reliant on criminal charges or convictions; they may be commenced within 10 years of the alleged unlawful activity.

According to the notices, the incidents occurred throughout Surrey between Sept. 21, 2012 and Nov. 1, 2015.

The most items from one seizure were collected around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 13, 2013 in South Surrey, during an incident at the Douglas (Peace Arch) border crossing. The list includes seven 16GB iPads, three 32GB iPad Minis, Beats Studio headphones, a Foodsaver 2200 and six Samsung galaxy S4 cellphones.

On Aug. 31, 2015, in connection with possession for the purpose of trafficking investigations, Surrey police seized a 2000 Toyota Corolla from near 18 Avenue and 156 Street, followed by a 2003 Saturn Vue, $579.25 cash and two cellphones in the 1700-block of 152 Street.

Cash and a BlackBerry cellphone were seized April 18, 2015 near King George Boulevard and 164 Street, also in connection with a possession for the purpose of trafficking investigation.

Further details of the specific incidents were not provided.

If the notices are not disputed – there is a 60-day window to do so – the property will be forfeited to the government for disposal. Depending on the items, they may be disposed of by auction, or, for items that cannot be legally sold, sent for salvage.

Proceeds are used to administer the program – which was launched in July 2011 – with excess funds benefiting crime-prevention programs across B.C. To date, those funds have totalled more than $20 million; grant recipients for 2015-2016 are to be announced in the coming months.

If a forfeiture is disputed – approximately 17 per cent of such files are, according to the CFO – the director of civil forfeiture has 30 days to either withdraw from the proceedings or seek forfeiture through the B.C. Supreme Court.

Since July 2011 – when the administrative forfeiture program was initiated – the Civil Forfeiture Office has commenced more than 2,675 such applications.

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