Outlaw biker owned hydroponics store targeted by police, court documents allege

Cops targeted outlaw biker

Court documents are shedding new light on a high-profile police operation targeting an alleged Kamloops member of an outlaw motorcycle gang.

In November of 2019, Kamloops Mounties announced two arrests and the seizure of more than $350,000 in cash, as well as a substantial amount of drugs, trafficking paraphernalia and a handgun.

The raids targeted three Kamloops addresses — a hydroponics store on Kelly Douglas Road, a house on Knollwood Drive and a home on Kinross Place.

The business, Sunshine Gardens Greenhouse Superstore, and the house on Knollwood Drive were owned by Zale Coty, who justice officials describe as a member of the Throttle Lockers outlaw motorcycle gang. The home on Kinross Place was the residence of Jacob Cavanagh, one of Coty’s alleged associates.

According to a notice of claim filed by the director of civil forfeiture and recently obtained by Castanet, Kamloops Mounties began to investigate the Okanagan chapter of the Throttle Lockers in September of 2017.

Between April of 2018 and November of 2019, the document states, police made five undercover drug buys from employees of the hydroponics store, including one deal worth $65,000 and another worth $50,000.

The buys were for cocaine, marijuana and “illicit cannabis distillate.”

“The investigation determined that J. Cavanagh was trafficking controlled substances for Z. Coty,” the document states.

On Nov. 26, 2019, police moved in on the hydroponics shop and seized more than $335,000 in cash, as well as ammunition, nearly 870 grams of methamphetamine, 1.31 kilograms of cocaine, more than 192 grams of fentanyl, 784 grams of cannabis extract, three digital scales, score sheets and a money-counting machine, according to the document.

On the same day, Mounties seized $12,480 in cash from Cavanagh’s Kinross Place home and a 40-calibre handgun from Coty’s Knollwood Drive residence, the document states.

The director of civil forfeiture wants a judge to order $320,952 of the cash found at the hydroponics store and the $12,480 seized from Cavanagh’s home forfeited to the provincial government.

Coty filed a response denying the allegations. He admits owning the hydroponics store but denied being a member of the Throttle Lockers and denied any link to drug trafficking.

The province's claim against Coty and Cavanagh was filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria in November and amended in March. Coty's response was filed in February and Cavanagh has not yet filed a response.

The civil forfeiture proceeding remains in the discovery process. No trial dates have been set.

No criminal charges have yet been laid in relation to the investigation and none of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court.

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