VICTORIA, B.C. – The province is targeting the drug trade in new changes to the civil forfeiture program.
Police have been observing trends of tools being used by organized crime and drug traffickers to avoid law enforcement and further violence.
Two types of devices have been included in the equipment list related to drug trafficking.
“We need to ensure that our civil forfeiture program is working as well as it can, so when police advise us about how drug gangs and organized crime are changing the ways they do business in B.C., we are committed to taking necessary steps to keep pace,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“These latest regulatory changes build on the legislative updates we made in 2019 and will help reduce violent crime and other activities that pose clear risks to public safety.”
According to the province, the two devices identified as tools of organized crime are radio jammers and aftermarket GPS trackers.
Criminals use radio jammers, which are illegal under the federal Radiocommunication Act, to block police radio transmissions and disable GPS location to monitor them.
Police found a growing number of GPS tracking systems used by traffickers to track rivals, keep tabs on subordinates, vehicles and high-value contraband like guns and drugs.
“Any device that interferes with communication among front-line officers, or that supports gang members in targeting their rivals with violence, has no place in the hands of criminals,” said Fiona Wilson, deputy chief of the investigation division, Vancouver Police Department.
“Any additional measures that deter criminal use of these devices is welcome as we and other police agencies work to curb profit-driven violence in the drug trade and by organized crime.”
In addition, the Civil Forfeiture Office is revising the legal definition of “likely to cause serious bodily harm.” The revisions are to ensure consistency in the court’s understanding and application of this term, creating a clearer path to achieving forfeiture of property used to harm others.
The CFO is also making revisions to its ability to secure specific information from more public bodies. Public bodies added to the prescribed list include the BC Securities Commission, the Motor Dealer Council, BC Lottery Corporation, BC Hydro and BC Assessment.
The changes to the civil forfeiture program are effective immediately.