Marcel Breton cross-examines police involved in drug, cash seizure

A Thunder Bay man charged with drug trafficking and possessing proceeds of crime repeatedly questions the validity of his arrest while representing himself at his trial.

A Thunder Bay man charged with drug-trafficking and possessing proceeds of crime repeatedly questioned the validity of his arrest while representing himself at his trial on Monday. 

Marcel Breton, 48, was arrested in December 2009 after police searched a residence on Mapleward Road and allegedly seized marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, as well as more than $1 million in cash.

Several OPP officers and one Thunder Bay Police officer involved in the search testified in court on Monday afternoon. They described finding a "tub" of cash buried in the unfinished floor of the garage,  and drugs in various locations including a toolbox, a workbench and an aspirin bottle in the kitchen.  One officer also testified he found a knife [previously identified by the Crown as a butterfly knife], which resulted in a prohibited weapons charge. 

While cross-examining each officer, Breton asked what they were looking for when they executed the first search warrant on December 1, 2009. All replied that the warrant was for a gun. Breton asked if they found one, and the officers said they hadn't.  Crown attorney Vern Brewer publicly conceded that point. 

Breton repeatedly argued that since the original warrant was for a gun rather than drugs or cash, it should not be valid. 

"I strongly believe I was wrongfully arrested and wrongfully detained and wrongfully searched," he said.   

However, earlier in the proceedings, Justice Terrence Platana had already reviewed the search and seizure of evidence and ruled it was valid.  

Earlier on Monday, the Crown called Marcel Breton's mother, Irene Breton, as a witness.  

Speaking through a French-language translator, she testified that she owned the Mapleward Road home in Thunder Bay that had been searched. 

Breton, who lives in North Bay, said she bought the Thunder Bay property in 2007 as an investment, and that her son lived there and paid her rent. 

The trial will continue on Tuesday.