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Accused in alleged drug trafficking ring forfeit houses, cash, jewelry valued at $2.3 million

Vancouver Sun logo Vancouver Sun 2020-12-31 Gordon Hoekstra
a vase sitting on top of a wooden table: The accused in an alleged drug-trafficking ring have forfeited to the province houses, cash and jewelry valued at more than $2.3 million. © Provided by Vancouver Sun The accused in an alleged drug-trafficking ring have forfeited to the province houses, cash and jewelry valued at more than $2.3 million.

The accused in an alleged drug-trafficking ring have forfeited to the province houses, cash and jewelry valued at more than $2.3 million.

The settlement is outlined in a consent agreement filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 10 between the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office and Ashok Kumar Naidu, also known as Roy Naidu; his spouse, Gina Chinamma Naidu; Avenel Anish Naidu, the Naidus’ son; Avenel’s girlfriend, Alisha Ann Watkins; and Can Auto Electric and Appliance Repair Ltd.

The consent order grants judgment to the civil forfeiture office of two properties in Mission and another in Coquitlam. The properties are valued at $2.1 million, according to B.C. Assessment Authority records. The civil forfeiture office has the right to sell the houses for proceeds that will be paid to the province.

Court records in separate actions by financial institutions show that two of the houses have mortgages totalling about $800,000 — so the payout to the province will be reduced by that amount.

The Naidus had to hand over “vacant possession” of the houses by Dec. 31, according to the consent order.

The defendants also agreed to forfeit more than $200,000 in cash, five designer handbags, two Rolex watches and a gold necklace, according to the consent order.

New Westminster police had seized the cash, some in U.S. and Mexican currency, and the jewelry during an investigation that uncovered the alleged drug-trafficking ring dealing in cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine, according to the forfeiture suit.

The defendants will keep three houses named in the forfeiture suit — two in Burnaby and one in Maple Ridge — as well as money held in several bank accounts.

The forfeiture suit filed in 2019 had accused the defendants of laundering drug-trafficking proceeds through an auto and appliance repair business, and real estate.

The defendants had not been charged criminally. 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.

The Naidus had denied any wrongdoing in responses in court, stating their income was derived from legitimate revenues generated from Can Auto employment, rent and other investments.

The civil forfeiture office’s claim had stated that to launder money the accused deposited the proceeds of drug trafficking into various bank accounts, often in amounts under $10,000, so the deposits would not trigger an automatic requirement for a bank to report the transaction to Canada’s financial intelligence gathering agency.

The Naidus’ response stated that Can Auto operated in part on the receipt of cash payments for its services. In Ashok and Gina Naidu’s response, the accused claim the New West police unlawfully entered a property they owned in Burnaby where Can Auto was located and conducted investigations and searches and seizures that violated their constitutional rights.

The New West police findings allege that Avenel Naidu was one of the operators of the drug ring and that one of the properties in Burnaby was being used as a storage and meeting location by the ring.

Among items seized were more than two kilograms of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth in various packages and mixtures. Other items seized by police included U-47700, an opioid analgesic drug that has about 7 1/2 times the potency of morphine; tablets of Tadalafil, also known as Cialis; capsules of the drug MDA; phenacetin, an agent used to cut cocaine; and a small amount of marijuana.


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