B.C. home allegedly used to launder money with illegal cannabis

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office is accusing a Lower Mainland man of using his $2 million home to launder money in connection to an illegal cannabis business.

In documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court in October, the forfeiture office is asking for the home, along with more than $85,000 cash seized by the RCMP, to be turned over to the government.

The defendants in the case are Jason Edward Baird, his father, Tony Edward Baird and Jason’s spouse, Teal Ashbury Hayden. Hayden and Jason are accused of operating an illegal cannabis-distribution business. The accusations have not been proven in court.

Civil Forfeiture Office revealed that on June 18, Surrey RCMP assisted the Winnipeg Police Service in executing a search warrant in the 12500 block of 22 Ave.

The search warrant was effectuated after Canada Post seized a suspicious package from Ontario containing $88,710 in cash destined for a post office box associated with Jason. An ion scan of the cash tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine.

In searching the home, police found $85,510 in Canadian currency, some American and Mexican money, and a 95-gram gold nugget. The investigation also indicated that Hayden purchased a number of internet domains associated with the sale of cannabis, including bcbudexpress.com, vancityweedexpress.ca, canadabcbud.ca, buyweedexpress.com and vancityweedexpress.com

The documents allege that on or before June 18 Jason and Hayden were operating an unlawful online cannabis distribution business under the domain names.

In addition to cash, police found just under 2,656 grams of cannabis, 184 grams of non-solid CBD concentrate, 2,088 grams of solid CBD concentrate and a record of transactions. The search also turned up keys for various vehicles, including a Corvette, a Ford F450, a Nissan and a Harley Davidson.

While an online court registry search did not indicate if charges were laid, the suit says RCMP arrested Hayden at the property for trafficking of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds obtained by crime over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit the offences.

The suit claims that the property and money are proceeds and instruments of unlawful activity. The unlawful activity, the Civil Forfeiture Office alleges, includes selling cannabis contrary to the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act; possession for the purpose of distributing contrary to the Cannabis Act; possession of the proceeds of crime; laundering the proceeds of crime; and failure to declare taxable income.

The suit says Jason and his father purchased the home in 2017. On Nov. 22, 2018, Jason transferred 48 per cent of his legal interest in the property to his father.

“The Transfer was not a bona fide transaction for value and is not a valid or enforceable charge against the title to the Property,” the suit says. “The transfer of the Property was not done in good faith for good consideration.”

The suit alleges that Jason is the “true” owner of the property and his father Tony acts as an “owner of convenience” on behalf of his son.

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