The province is seeking to have forfeited more than $840,000 in cash and a tractor-trailer allegedly linked to drug trafficking.
In a notice of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 19, the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office seeks to have a 2003 Kenworth T800 tractor truck and the cash forfeited as proceeds of crime.
Named in the forfeiture suit are Surrey resident Ranjit Singh Dhanda and MB Distributors Ltd., accused of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of the proceeds of crime and failure to declare taxable income.
Neither Dhanda nor the company has responded in court to the allegations.
Dhanda was arrested by RCMP this summer for drug possession and possession of property obtained by crime. His arrest followed an investigation after a traffic stop, but Dhanda has not been charged criminally in relation to the incident, according to a search of online B.C. court records.
Civil forfeiture actions can be launched without criminal charges being laid. The threshold for proving a civil forfeiture claim is lower than for a criminal conviction, a balance of probabilities instead of beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the forfeiture suit, on July 26 of this year, the RCMP stopped Dhanda for speeding while he was driving the tractor. The tractor was pulling a trailer with an Alberta licence.
“Mr. Dhanda was evasive when questioned by RCMP and was unable to provide a bill of lading or key for the trailer he was transporting,” according to the court filing.
Further investigation by police turned up a padlocked hard-shell suitcase in the sleeper of the tractor truck. The suitcase contained $600,140 in Canadian currency in $20 bills bundled with elastic bands. The search also uncovered $240,425 in Canadian currency also bundled with elastic bands in a Huggies diaper box in the trailer. That cash included $20, $10 and $5 bills.
Dhanda’s wallet contained $1,455 in Canadian currency, $70 U.S. currency and $1,200 Indian currency. Also located was a receipt for a $4,000 cash bank deposit and a $7,000 cheque.
The police also located various pills and 23 squeezable tubes of doda in three Ziploc bags. Doda, a narcotic derived from the poppy plant, is a controlled substance under Canadian laws.
The Kenworth tractor truck is owned by MB Distributors Ltd. Dhanda is not named as a director of the company, according to a search of B.C. corporate records.
According to the forfeiture suit, Dhanda is the beneficial or true owner of the tractor truck. “MB acted as a nominee owner or owner of convenience on behalf of Mr. Dhanda with respect to the tractor,” says the suit filed by the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office.
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