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THUNDER BAY -- A local man has been convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering Friday, more than four years after his initial arrest.
Marcel Breton, 48, was found guilty of 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 Friday at the Thunder Bay Courthouse.
Breton was arrested in December 2009 after a search of his Mapleward Road home and property resulted in the seizure of 120 grams of cocaine, 50 ecstasy tablets, 454 grams of marijuana and two grams of cannabis resin. Along with the drugs, police also discovered $1.2 million in cash, the majority of which was found buried in the ground in a Tupperware container.
Justice Terrence Platana submitted written reasons for his findings and did not read them to the court.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 6 and the judge urged Breton to obtain a lawyer for the sentencing process; Breton has been self-represented throughout the trial.
Crown attorney Vern Brewer said he will be seeking additional jail time in the sentence and making an application for forfeiture of the assets found to be proceeds of crime.
During the trial, the court heard testimony from OPP Det. Sgt. Roger Gagne, a detective-constable with the provincial weapons enforcement unit at the time of Breton's arrest in 2009 who was part of the team that executed the initial search warrant.
Gagne testified to what police discovered on the property during the search, including a truck, ATVs, a boat and other sport vehicles.
He also told the court about the discovery of what he referred to as a "tub of money" found in part of the garage under a Camaro.
Gagne said they had keys to the car, but it wouldn't start so they pushed it out of the way after a metal detector alerted them to something possibly buried in the ground.
They found a storage bin containing what was later counted to be about $1.2 million in cash.
In June during closing submissions, Brewer stated records showed that Breton only owned two vehicles at the Mapleward Road home, owned by his mother, despite an ATV, a Bobcat and a snow machine on the property.
Brewer asked why no one had come to claim any of the assets after they were seized more than four years ago unless Breton had used trusted friends and relatives to launder them.
In his brief closing argument Breton told the court there had never been an investigation and police only searched the property for a handgun, which was never found.
There were no fingerprints on any of the drugs found and several keys could have been made so more than one person had access to his garage. He said he was illegally arrested and detained when police searched his home in December 2009.
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