Trio charged for grow-op and weapons

Abbotsford home was busted by police in March 2011

An Abbotsford man whose home was the subject of a civil forfeiture claim has now had charges laid against him for an alleged grow-op on the property.

Iqbal Gill, 49, made his first appearance in Abbotsford provincial court on Aug. 9, along with co-accused Harjot Gill, 19, and Prabhjot Gill, 23.

Iqbal has been charged with production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and fraudulently consuming electricity.

He has also been charged with three firearms-related charges, including possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition.

Harjot has been charged with three firearms offences, and Prabhjot faces two such counts.

Iqbal is one of three former owners of the Siskin Drive home where the alleged grow-op was found by police in March 2011.

That property was the subject of a civil forfeiture claim in May of last year in which it was alleged that the home’s down payment, mortgage, property taxes, improvements and maintenance were funded by the profits of crime.

The claim alleged that the property had operated as a marijuana grow operation from the time Iqbal and two others purchased it in 2003 until the raid by police last year.

The home has since been sold to an unrelated party in foreclosure proceedings, according to civil court documents.

The property was busted by Abbotsford Police on March 17, 2011, and a two-storey garage was allegedly found to contain more than 1,000 marijuana plants.

Also allegedly found on the property were a handgun, a submachine gun, an assault rifle, ammunition, $4,000 in cash and a device for obtaining electricity without it being metered.

Iqbal and the other former property owners stated in court documents, in response to the civil forfeiture claim, that they rented a portion of their property to people who ran the grow-up, but they had no knowledge of it.

“The defendants exercised due care and diligence in monitoring the rental property,” the documents state.

The records add that the trio suffered financial losses and damages to their property due to the actions of the tenants.

Iqbal, Harjot and Prabhjot are next slated to appear in Abbotsford provincial court on Sept. 17. None has a prior criminal record, according to the provincial court database.

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Act was passed in 2006, permitting the provincial government to apply to court to obtain property believed to be connected to criminal activity.

If a judge decides a property must be forfeited, it can then be sold, the mortgage paid off, and the proceeds used by the government for victim compensation, crime prevention activities, crime remediation activities, and the administration of the act.

A claim can be launched before criminal charges are ever laid.