Murdered Vernon man had $571,000 in cash at home

The cash should be forfeited to the province because the money had been used by the deceased to engage in unlawful activities, says lawsuit.

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The B.C. government wants to keep over half a million dollars found in June 2022 in the Vernon home of a man who was shot to death days earlier.

While local RCMP never released the name of the shooting victim, he was identified in a lawsuit filed recently by the director of civil forfeiture as Michael Davis Brereton.

The statement of claim, dated June 27, said Brereton lived in a townhouse at 5300 25th Ave. in Vernon which RCMP officers searched on June 6, 2022.

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Brereton was gunned down outside the residential complex just before 6 p.m. on June 3, though Vernon RCMP only identified him to local media at the time as a 38-year-old man who was known to them.

A black 2004 BMW 320i that raced away from the killing scene was found on fire the next day in Spallumcheen.

Inside the home Brereton shared with a woman named Tiana Trinidad, police found the cash — $501,000 of which was stashed in a cardboard box in separate bundles of varying amounts.

Police also seized two bubble wrap bags — one opened and one unopened — which contained more bundles of money totalling another $68,000. There was also a green zippered case with $2,400 in it.

“The money was bundled or packaged in a manner not consistent with standard banking practices,” the statement of claim said. “The money is proceeds and an instrument of unlawful activity.”

And it said police also found several firearms — a Colt M1911 .45 calibre handgun with magazines, a Glock 22 .40 calibre handgun with magazines, a CZ Scorpion 9×19 submachine-gun with magazines and a Ruger LCP .380 calibre handgun.

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The cash should be forfeited to the province because it had “been used by the deceased to engage in unlawful activities which variously resulted in, or were likely to result in, the acquisition of property or an interest in property, or caused, or were likely to cause serious bodily harm,” the lawsuit alleges

The crimes alleged include trafficking controlled substances, possession of the proceeds of crime, money laundering and failure to declare taxable income.

No statements of defence have yet been filed by Brereton’s estate or the other two defendants named — Trinidad, and Brereton’s common-law spouse, Norma Nasal, who lives in Whitehorse.

Brereton has no criminal record in B.C., according to the online court database.

But he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in Whitehorse in 2004 and got a 21-month conditional sentence. He was also identified in a 2013 Yukon court case as involved in the local drug trade along with several traffickers from the Lower Mainland.

Corporate records show Brereton started a business called Fatboys Fabrication in Vernon with another man in 2015.

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The RCMP did not respond to requests for an update on the murder investigation.

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