Restaurant seized in crystal meth bust up for sale
A small-town Saskatchewan restaurant connected to a crystal meth trafficking scheme is being sold after seizure by the police.
It's being called the first time in Saskatchewan a commercial property has been forfeited to the Crown as an "offence related property" in connection with a crystal meth case.
A police raid in the town of Naicam on January 2005 was the culmination of an 18-month investigation.
Three people, including the owner of the Station restaurant,were charged with trafficking, and the restaurant and three cars were seized. The former owner is now serving time behind bars. A second person arrested was also convicted, while the case of a third is still before the courts.
According to the RCMP, the restaurant seizure and sale sends a message to criminals that crime doesn't pay, and that police will go after assets paid for with illegal cash or used in a criminal enterprise.
According to people in Naicam, there were some unsavoury characters hanging around the Station restaurant in the months before the 2005 raid. It turned out the restaurant was being used to peddle crystal meth.
"They were all strung out and stuff, and they'd come here for gas," said Julie Hoffman, who used to own the gas bar right next door. "You don't know if you're going to be robbed or what, because they might need money."
"People were very unhappy about it," said Don Hardy. "They disliked what was going on, but they didn't think there was anything they could do to change it."
Eventually, local people decided they'd had enough and called in the Mounties.
Now, Rodger Hayward, the mayor of Naicam,says it's timeto move on. He hopes someone will buy the restaurant and breathe new life into it.
He said the town's drug problem was brought under control after the bust, and the climate is right for an entrepreneur to start fresh.
"I want to keep my hopes high because I want the building here," he said. "It's what Naicam is all about ... bringing more business in. And we were sad to see a business go."
The realtor in charge of the file says he's waiting for signed documents before he lists it, but it will go on the market for $28,500.
Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is a cheap, potent and highly addictive illegal drug that police and health authorities say has become a more serious problem in Saskatchewan in recent years.
Naicam, with about 800 residents, is located 186 kilometres east of Saskatoon.