Growing pot in his house has cost a Surrey man his home.
A supreme court justice has ordered the Newton-area, three-storey house be seized by the province under the Civil Forfeiture Act.
William Khan Munnue, who is also known as Ali Haydar Kazan, Ali Kazan and Eldon Perryon, admitted having 80 marijuana plants on the upper floor of his home, but denied knowledge of a grow op in the two-bedroom basement suite.
The house is located at 12430 74 Ave. Munnue resided on the top two floors, and rented out the lower level.
During his trial, Munnue represented himself and claimed not only was he unaware of the basement plants, but his own operation had only been running for six days prior to a police search in November 2009. He argued seizing his home would be disproportionate and unfair.
When police searched the home on Nov. 12, 2009, they began in the two-bedroom basement suite, where they found several several garbage bags of marijuana plant clippings and tools. Mylar sheeting, often used by pot growers because its reflective surface maximizes light, covered the windows and floors of the bedrooms.
Police seized 41.34 kg of dried marijuana from the suite, valued at about $180,000.
On the main floor, a handgun magazine with one .45 calibre round was found in a desk drawer, as was a box containing 50 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition. Above the desk, two envelopes with $4,700 cash were also discovered.
The 80 pot plants were found under lights in the master bedroom on the third floor. There was also Mylar on the floors and walls there, a ventilation system, plant fertilizer and a box of digital security cameras.
Munnue, who is single with no children, was never charged with any offence stemming from the police search, but admitted at trial that he was responsible for the marijuana grow operation on the third floor. He testified the two-bedroom basement suite had been vacant since Oct. 28, when his previous tenants left without notice. Munnue said he only went in the suite once after to clean up after they left.
Vancouver Supreme Court Justice Paul J. Pearlman didn’t buy the homeowner’s story.
“I find that Mr. Munnue’s denial of any knowledge of the marijuana processing operation in the two-bedroom suite is not credible,” wrote Pearlman in his March 12 decision. “He was acquainted with at least two of the persons involved. Those persons made no effort to conceal their presence on the property. Mr. Munnue had control of the two-bedroom basement suite. “
Pearlman called the grow-op “small but sophisticated” and pointed to the harm (electrical, violence) associated with such operations.
The judge said while Munnue said he had learned his lesson and that the chance of him having a grow-up again was low, there was still a risk he’d allow similar unlawful activity again.
He ordered Munnue to vacate the house, which was assessed at $571,000 in 2011, and that the province seize it and sell it.