B.C. Government Tries to Seize Realtor’s Burnaby Property after 2011 Marijuana Grow-Op Bust

Article by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun

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Vancouver real estate agent Maurizio Mastronardi said he plans to fight the B.C. government’s attempt to seize a north Burnaby property he owns, which was once the site of a marijuana grow-op.

Earlier this month, B.C.’s Director of Civil Forfeiture filed a claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. seeking to seize a property on Braeside Drive in Burnaby. Mastronardi, a licensed realtor with an east Vancouver brokerage, said a marijuana grow operation at the rental property had been installed by former tenants without his knowledge.

He said he was surprised on Wednesday to learn of the civil forfeiture action, coming three months after criminal charges against him were stayed because of court delays.

On Thursday, Mastronardi denied he had any involvement in the grow-op, saying: “Everything I’ve bought I’ve worked for. I’ve been a realtor 26 years and I make a good living at it. I don’t need a 100-plant grow-op that’s going to yield me $2,000 or $3,000 a month.”

According to the statement of facts set out in the government’s claim, Mastronardi and his wife have owned the Burnaby property since August 2010, and during part of that time the property was “used to engage in unlawful activities,” including money laundering and the production and trafficking of drugs.

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