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2014-06-11 at 16:29

Expert witness

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- The trial of Marcel Breton got a crash course in drug dealer finances from an expert in the proceeds of crime Wednesday afternoon.

Breton, 48, is on trial at the Thunder Bay Courthouse for charges including possession of cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, possession of a prohibited weapon and laundering proceeds of crime.

OPP Det. Sgt. Peter Currie with the organized crime enforcement bureau's asset forfeiture division told the court how drug dealers turn money from deals into assets.

Most street deals involve $20 bills, which are eventually bundled together with different types of elastic bands to dealers can quickly identify amounts.

They generally have some bundles stashed around a home for fast access with larger amounts hidden in places that are harder to access. The one place they don't typically put money is a bank because of how easily it can be tracked.

A lot of dealers will live outside of their means, turning that into assets like cars, trucks houses and recreation vehicles. Paying cash, careless dealers will put those items in their own names.

"Leaving himself very vulnerable to public detection," Currie told the court.

Others will use trusted friends or relatives who aren't involved in crime, and with legitimate means to own those assets, or numbered companies.

Breton, representing himself, asked Currie whether he had found any link between drug dealing and assets seized in his case. But Justice Terrence Platana said that's better left for closing submissions. 

"I think that's what I'm trying to determine," Platana told Breton.

Breton also asked if it was typical to fingerprint items seized in a case. Again Platana said those types of questions are better left for the end of the trial when Breton makes his submission.

Currie said while it's possible people store large amounts of money outside of banks, when dealing in large denominations cash comes from banks in bundles of 100 of the same bill wrapped in a paper strap and marked by a teller. Elastic bands damage bills much faster than paper he said.
The trial continues Thursday when the court will hear from an expert in drug trafficking.

None of the charges against the accused have been proven in court.

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