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This article was published 14/11/2014 (2537 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BRANDON -- More than two years after he was arrested in connection with the biggest drug bust the Brandon Police Service had ever seen, a Brandon-area man's criminal charges will not proceed.
Charges against Jayant David Venn were stayed in Brandon provincial court Thursday.
"I'm just thankful that it's over," Venn said following the proceedings. "I've been innocent from the get-go. It has taken a long time to get to this point, and I just want to continue on with my life."
All charges against Venn in relation to the case -- possession of marijuana and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of crime and unsafe storage of a firearm -- were stayed.
Police reported they seized a pound of ecstasy from Venn's home on a Kemnay-area property. Venn -- who was never charged with possessing ecstasy -- said it wasn't his, and that the authorities found the ecstasy in a separate third-floor suite he was renting to another man.
"I was in possession of absolutely no drugs," he said.
Venn and other suspects were arrested in October 2012 following a lengthy investigation by Brandon police that included covert surveillance projects in 2011 and 2012.
In October 2012, police announced they seized more than $2 million worth of drugs during searches at rural properties near Brandon and Gilbert Plains, and alleged marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy were regularly shipped from British Columbia to Manitoba for distribution to Brandon and Dauphin drug dealers.
Venn's lawyer, Sheldon Pinx, said Crown attorney Christina Cheater asked the court to stay charges against his client after careful consideration.
"My client is extremely grateful that Crown counsel agreed to drop these charges today as a result of their very careful review and consideration of this case," Pinx said Thursday.
Charges have since been dropped against all but one of those accused of shipping and distributing drugs.
On Sept. 3, 31-year-old Brian Decosse of Calgary was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana and cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Cheater, the third Crown attorney to handle the case, cited department policy as she declined Thursday to say why the charges were dropped against the various accused.
-- Brandon Sun