Illicit cannabis distribution leads to forfeiture order related to two properties

| Morton Robertson

The BC Civil Forfeiture Office has begun civil forfeiture proceedings against two properties following investigations into the sale and distribution of illicit cannabis by a company operating in Surrey, BC.

The investigations by Surrey RCMP into the illicit sales and distribution of cannabis took place from April 2020 to February 2022. The two properties are located in Maple Ridge and Mission.

During their investigations, police seized cannabis, cash, and vehicles they say were used to facilitate cannabis sales and distribution. Following the investigation, the case was referred to the BC Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO). The investigators also learned that the suspected operators of the illicit cannabis distribution company owned the two properties located in Mission, BC and Maple Ridge, BC. The CFO was informed about the properties as they were suspected of being the proceeds of unlawful activity.

In December 2023, the CFO obtained a forfeiture order from the Supreme Court of British Columbia under which the registered owners of the properties were ordered to pay $410,000 to the CFO or forfeit both properties. The court order gives the owners until December 1, 2024, to meet these conditions or forfeit the properties. 

The court order listed the conditions of the payment and stated that if the conditions are not met by December 1, 2024, the Director will dispose of both properties.

“Our Frontline, Proactive Enforcement and Asset Forfeiture teams continue to address illicit cannabis sales in our City with the tools available under the Cannabis Act, Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and BC Civil Forfeiture Act,” says S/Sgt Glenn Leeson NCO i/c of the Surrey RCMP Drug Unit. “As this case demonstrates, forfeiture of property identified as the proceeds of unlawful activity or used in committing offences under these acts is a real and expensive consequence for operators of illicit cannabis operations.”

It’s not the first time the provincial government has taken similar actions against those connected to illicit cannabis businesses. BC’s civil forfeiture program was created in 2006 and has come under criticism from civil liberties groups.

In October 2020, the BC Civil Forfeiture Office accused a Crescent Beach resident of using his $2 million home to launder money from a cannabis business with connections to the websites,,,, and

An investigation from 2020 also led the BC government to contend that the owners of an illegal cannabis grow-op used a third party to hide the property’s true ownership as part of the province’s forfeiture efforts. 

In 2021, the BC Civil Forfeiture Office successfully concluded proceedings against a Courtney residence after a Comox Valley RCMP investigation into drug trafficking offences from 2016.

In a lawsuit filed in 2021, the forfeiture office also sought to seize two homes in Maple Ridge they say were purchased with money from running an illegal pot delivery service called 24K for more than two years.

In 2022, BC’s director of civil forfeiture was seeking to confiscate cash and eight properties worth nearly $7 million that are alleged to be connected to three illicit cannabis websites

BC made amendments to the Civil Forfeiture Act in 2023 that provided new tools to begin legal proceedings against property connected to illegal cannabis grow operations.

In late 2023, the BC Supreme Court paused efforts by the provincial government to seize $12 million in properties connected to illegal cannabis and psilocybin dispensaries.