On the first anniversary of Alberta's Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act, an estimated $11.4 million worth of property has been seized, most of that in Edmonton, the province announced Thursday.
That figure does not include the street value of drugs seized, just property such as vehicles confiscated by police. As of Thursday, 61 vehicles had been seized across the province, 43 of those in Edmonton.
"Alberta's approach to civil forfeiture is also unique in this country for targeting the vehicles that allow the drug trade to flourish," said Alison Redford, minister of justice and Alberta's attorney general.
The legislation allows the Civil Forfeiture Office to ask the court to seize property used to carry out crimes as well as goods acquired illegally. The proceeds are paid out through the courts to victims of crime and organizations that support victims.
"Last year when we introduced this, there were people who were skeptical, and thought that it wouldn't meet a charter challenge, but it has," Redford said.
"We've seized cars and drugs from parents, and even from a grandmother who had kids in the car while deals were being done.
"We've seized a number of luxury cars and SUVs equipped with hidden compartments," Redford added, "and police have found loaded handguns in those compartments."
The minister acknowledged that drug dealers can simply get another vehicle, but said the legislation is still making a difference.
"At the end of the day, drug trade is about business and profitability, and part of what we need to do is to make it difficult for them to do business."