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Pot Party Candidate Charged With Trafficking


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Nunavut's Marijuana Party candidate appeared in court this week to face long-standing charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Ed deVries faces four counts of laundering the proceeds of crime, one count of drug trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking. He made his first appearance in an Iqaluit courtroom on Monday, Sept. 12.
The charges date back to an RCMP investigation that began during the winter of 2003 and stretched over many months.

In late December 2003, RCMP intercepted a package containing $100,000 worth of marijuana in Montreal, bound for Iqaluit, during a Canada Post mail inspection. Over the next several months, police continued to investigate.
On May 19, 2004, police arrested deVries at the Iqaluit airport and seized a large amount of money. Police wouldn't disclose the exact amount, but when the four separate charges of laundering the proceeds of crime are added up, they amount to $329,540.

Eight months after the parcel in Montreal was intercepted, police charged deVries, on Aug. 11, 2004, with drug trafficking in connection with that parcel. By September 2004, police had added the charge of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, also naming co-accused Andrew Macdonald.
DeVries, 48, has been an outspoken advocate of decriminalizing marijuana, and says he's been a pot smoker for several decades. He was first convicted of marijuana possession in Ontario in 1975, and several times following that - although he says he later received a federal pardon.

In May 2005 he announced his plans to run in the next federal election as a candidate for the Marijuana Party. On June 23 Nunavut became the first electoral district in Canada where the party is registered, under the name Pirursiattiavangmit Ukpirusuktuit, or "The Best Plant Believers." In Montreal, party leader Blair Longley said he would continue to support deVries as a candidate.

"The Marijuana Party has more candidates going through the revolving door of prison by far. It's really a badge of honour for us, rather than a stigma," he said. "If someone's been in trouble with the law because they're a marijuana martyr, we praise them." DeVries runs a small business from his Iqaluit home where he works as a natural healer and pressure-point therapist. In the past he's said he does not distribute marijuana as part of that business and keeps his occupation and his political belief in legalization entirely separate.

He was to appear in court next on Thursday after the Nunatsiaq News press time this week.

Newshawk: SirBlazinBowl - 420Times.com
Source: Nunatsiaq News (CN NT)
Copyright: 2005 Nortext Publishing Corporation
Contact: editor@nunatsiaq.com
Website: http://www.nunatsiaq.com/
Author: John Thompson
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