The Province of British Columbia has expressed its intention to seize a property in Vancouver which was used to offer illegal gambling activities until June 2022. In a recently submitted civil forfeiture lawsuit, the local government also wants a commercial building on Kingsway to be handed over, as fentanyl and a firearm were discovered in 2020.
The statement of claim lists Thi Thanh Le as the plaintiff, who owns the house on Tyne Street, along with her husband Henry Ly and a numbered company where Ms. Le is the sole director of. The numbered company owns the property at 2520 Kingsway, where local law enforcement found gambling equipment and stolen property last year.
Findings from the Civil Forfeiture Lawsuit
B.C.’s lawsuit points to two overlapping investigations by the Vancouver Police, the first in early 2020 and the second in 2022. It was reported that prior to April 29, 2020, the defendants used the Tyne Street house, a condo on Sawmill Crescent in southeast Vancouver, a storage locker on Kinross and a Richmond warehouse on Twigg Place to produce and distribute cannabis.
The director mentioned in the lawsuit that until June last year, the defendants also used the Kingsway property as a gaming or betting house. The property and two others on East 8th Avenue and East 33rd Avenue and two vehicles owned by Trong Huy Huynh who is another name in the lawsuit were used to facilitate drug trafficking, and laundering the proceeds of crime
Furthermore, the civil forfeiture director explained that the two buildings, which have a total assessed value of CA$8.1 million, along with the vehicles and miscellaneous items should be forfeited. This was due to the fact that they were the proceeds of criminal activity, including the production and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The director also claimed that these properties and items should be seized as they were used for trafficking-controlled substances, illegal cannabis sales, unauthorized possession of a firearm, running a gaming or a betting house and trafficking in property obtained by crime. At the time of the press release, no statements of defence were submitted in the lawsuit.
Law Enforcement Deals with Unlawful Gambling
At the start of this year, the Richmond RCMP department revealed the bust of another illegal gambling den at Skaha Crescent in Richmond. The raid took place on December 1, 2022, and at the site, officers arrested 16 individuals, including a 45-year-old Richmond and 49-year-old Surrey man, who are believed to be taking care of the underground gaming den.
Other examples of illegally run gambling operations include a case of an unlawful gambling site in Kitchener, Ontario from February 2022. At the den, police found and seized a series of items used for unregulated gambling. This includes approximately CA$36,000 in cash, four electronic gaming machines, three gambling tables, and around 500 poker chips which are roughly CA$10,000 in value.
Source: Bolan, Kim “B.C. wants two Vancouver properties forfeited for links to drug trade, gambling” Vancouver Sun, October 13, 2023