Government seeks to seize Gabriola home of gentleman guilty of illegal crab fishing off North Vancouver

Fisherman Scott Steer made use of the proceeds of criminal offense to buy property and launder income, the director of civil forfeiture has alleged

The government’s director of civil forfeiture is going following a household on Gabriola Island as properly as income held in bank accounts of a man convicted of many fisheries violations, like unlawful crab fishing in the waters off North Vancouver in March of 2020.

The Director of Civil Forfeiture has asked that individuals belongings be frozen so they can not be transferred or bought in advance of a court decides if they are the proceeds of criminal offense.

The civil situation has been filed towards fisherman Scott Stanley Matthew Steer, his spouse Melissa Larocque and her mother Diane Gail Butz, who is the registered proprietor of a house on Gabriola Island wherever Steer and his wife live.

Court documents also name financial institution accounts in the names of Steer and Larocque and several seafood companies they control.

In the court documents, the civil forfeiture director alleges Steer has a “prolific fisheries violation historical past with the Division of Fisheries and Oceans in the Pacific Location.”

People involve 5 fisheries convictions in May well 2021 for unlawful crab fishing in Vancouver Harbour off North Vancouver in March 2020 in an space closed to crab fishing.

In a written conclusion outlining good reasons for the convictions in B.C. Supreme Courtroom, Justice Peter Edelmann described people functions in Burrard Inlet off North Vancouver.

Edelmann explained how just before midnight on March 1, 2020, SeaBus operators reported a smaller vessel in Vancouver Harbour without the need of its lights on. Fisheries officers had been dispatched to the scene wherever they testified looking at the vessel listing to the facet in a way reliable with hauling crab traps up from the sea flooring. Fisheries officers explained how immediately after they approached, the vessel all of a sudden straightened, left all of a sudden, and begun driving erratically at a higher level of speed.

Fisheries officers reported the pursuit on the h2o lasted for about 10 minutes, ending at Lonsdale Quay where by they jumped aboard the vessel, according to the judge’s description. On board, they found out four professional crab traps, along with holding pens made up of about 250 crab.

Fisheries officers testified there were no floats on the vessel, as demanded on industrial crabbing traps. As an alternative, they situated a grappling hook and chain, which officers indicated are generally used to retrieve unlawful traps from the sea ground, wrote the decide.

Edelmann convicted Steer on five fisheries charges.

In accordance to the courtroom files submitted by the director of civil forfeiture,Steer, Larocque and their providers have also allegedly been connected to the illegal sale of crab during a different investigation by DFO officers in Steveston. Steer has also been charged with unlawful harvesting of sea cucumbers.

He also allegedly applied for a fishing grant or bank loan in August 2020 by means of the Native Fishing Association in West Vancouver below the name Terry Seymour. An sum of $60,000 from that association was later on deposited into a numbered organization owned by Steer, the director has alleged.

A preliminary investigation of bank data confirmed that concerning February 2019 and March 2020 around $1.5 million, which include about US$66,000 was deposited into accounts controlled by the pair, the civil forfeiture director has alleged.

The civil forfeiture director has also alleged the Gabriola Island residence “is an instrument of crime” as the order was designed with cash acquired from unlawful exercise or as a way to “launder revenue received from the illegal action,” according to court paperwork.

None of the allegations have been proven in court docket.