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Sentenced to house arrest for 300-plant grow-op

An Abbotsford man who was found guilty of running a marijuana grow-op has received an 18-month conditional sentence (house arrest) and has had his home seized.

Alan Thomas Smith, 62, was found guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack of marijuana production and possession for the purposes of trafficking. More than 300 plants with an estimated street value of between $76,000 and $153,000 were found in his residence.

The sentence was issued Nov. 9, but the judge’s written reasons were not posted online until last week.

Smith testified at his trial that he is the sole employee of a home repair business. His wife, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, does not work.

One of the reasons that Grist said he convicted Smith was because the two properties the couple owned in Surrey and Abbotsford could not have been supported solely by the income from Smith’s job.

They first acquired a 5,900-square-foot home in Surrey for $700,000 in 2004. After selling that residence in 2007, they purchased a $1.1-million home in Abbotsford, where the grow-op was found.

That home was then sold as the subject of a civil forfeiture claim in which the provincial government can go after the proceeds of crime.

The judge said he sentenced Smith to house arrest, rather than jail time, because he has no prior criminal record, and he is the main caregiver for his wife.

Grist also said that the consequences of Smith’s arrest and prosecution make it unlikely that he will re-offend.

During the first six months of his sentence, Smith is prohibited from leaving his home except between the hours of noon and 2 p.m. or for his hours of employment. For the rest of his sentence, he must follow a daily curfew from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

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