Former North Vancouver Mountie sues RCMP over pot raids

A former North Vancouver Mountie is suing the government and the RCMP for raiding his home twice and seizing his medicinal marijuana supply. Carlos Cavaco and his common-law wife Marnie O’Neil filed the lawsuit against Health Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and the RCMP in B.C. Supreme Court Aug. 25. The couple, who both have licences to use and grow medical marijuana, are suing for damages for “assault, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of nervous shock and loss of reputations.”

They said the two raids -one in December 2009 and another in July 2010 – have left them stressed, broke and suffering physical and emotional deterioration. As a result of the seizure, Cavaco – who suffers from multiple sclerosis – has had to take large quantities of morphine and has developed an addiction to that, according to the lawsuit. In the past, however, Cavaco could easily have been on the other side of the dispute.

During the mid-1980s, he was an officer with the North Vancouver RCMP whose brief career included two dramatic incidents. In August 1987, a motorcyclist died after colliding with Cavaco’s police car in the early morning at Fell Avenue and Marine Drive. A year later, in 1988, Cavaco was investigating a report of a suspicious man when the man stabbed him twice with a knife. Cavaco then shot the man. He later quit the RCMP and moved to Ontario, eventually moving back to Sooke, B.C.

Cavaco was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000 and is in the late stages of the disease, according to the suit. He has been part of the medical marijuana program since 2000 and requires “a significant quantity of dried cannabis per day” – up to 30 grams – according to the suit. At one point, Cavaco was growing 40 plants in order to supply himself with enough.

According to the lawsuit, police told the couple they raided the medicinal grow-op because the amount of pot being grown far exceeded the amount allowed by Health Canada. Neither the RCMP nor Health Canada has yet filed a response to the claim.

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