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Breton trial Day 6

THUNDER BAY -- A man accused of drug trafficking threatened to sue the media for slander after his request for a publication ban was denied Monday.

THUNDER BAY -- A man accused of drug trafficking threatened to sue the media for slander after his request for a publication ban was denied Monday.

Marcel Breton, 48, who 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 asked Justice Terrence Platana for a publication ban for the second time during the trial.

The judge denied the request saying the bans are usually asked for at the beginning of a trial.

Breton then said he wanted to warn the media that if they published the story about the trial, he would sue them for slander.

Platana said that the trial is being conducted in open court and it's a matter of public record.

"Well, they've been warned," Breton said.

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 as well as $1.2 million in cash found buried in the ground.

Day six of the trial started with testimony from the accused's mother, Irene Breton, who testified with the assistance of a French interpreter.

Irene Breton, who lives in North Bay, owns the Mapleward residence where Breton lived and was arrested in 2009.

She told the court she believed she bought the house in 2007 and that Breton moved into the house to take care of it and he paid her about $1,000 per month in rent.

After her husband died in 1998, Irene Breton said she used the approximately $800,000 her husband left her in an RRSP, fixing up her house and she also gave some to her seven children, including about $50,000 to the accused.

Irene Breton also told the court she bought the house on Mapleward Road because it wasn't expensive and it was a good investment.

She said Marcel did not ask her to buy the house, but he did mention to her it was a good investment.

The Crown also called OPP Det. Sgt. Roger Gagne to the stand Monday morning. Gagne was a detective-constable with the provincial weapons enforcement unit at the time of Breton's arrest in 2009 and 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, motorcycle 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 Rubbermaid storage bin and found what was later counted to be about $1.2 million.

The officers emptied the bin to find what would set the metal detector off but found nothing but the cash.

Gagne said they laid the cash out on the living room floor of the residence and realized it was the metal stripping in the dollar bills; the detector wouldn't make any noise over a single bundle of cash, but when they added more to the pile, then it would detect the metal.

The trial is expected to continue throughout the week.

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