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Seized ecstasy violates Olympic trademark laws

Olympic ecstasy was found in the city waiting to discover Olympic fever. A million-dollar Wednesday drug bust by Vancouver Police netted ecstasy pills branded with the Olympic rings.

"This is one of the top five largest seizures in Vancouver," said Insp. Brad Desmarais.

Police said Thursday that a house in the 4300-block of Nanaimo Street was raided and two people arrested after police reported to the scene of a home invasion. Police used a search warrant to seize 107,000 ecstasy pills and a partial six-ounce brick of cocaine. The arrested men, whose names were not released, were banned from attending nightclubs or raves.

The incident coincidentally happened in the same neighbourhood as the Eldorado motel, which was contracted by VANOC to offer low-cost accommodations for Olympic backpackers and workers.

The arrested men face drug possession charges. They could also be sued for trademark violation under a temporary federal law that prohibits the unauthorized commercial use of Olympic emblems, including the five rings. VANOC would not comment on the potential for a trademark lawsuit.

"This illustrates that there are and will be unscrupulous use of the Olympic marks, on occasion combining unauthorized marks use with an illegal product," said VANOC commercial rights director Bill Cooper in a prepared statement. "Like the Vancouver Police, we will continue to be diligent in our surveillance and rigorous follow up."

Ecstasy is officially known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (or MDMA) and it appears on the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2010 prohibited list. Athletes coming to Vancouver 2010 are not permitted to consume the stimulant during competition and will be subject to random testing.

In February, VANOC unveiled the Bombardier-designed Olympic torch which pundits immediately compared to a giant marijuana cigarette. Officials in Greece apologized in October for hurdler Fani Halkia's participation in the Vancouver torch relay in Athens. Halkia won gold at Beijing 2008, but tested positive for steroids and should not have been allowed to carry the flame, according to International Olympic Committee rules.

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is notorious for street-level drug-dealing. The area also includes marijuana cafes and a federal government licensed, supervised drug injection room intended to get addicts out of back alleys and on the road to recovery.

Bob Mackin reports for 24 Hours Vancouver.

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