Two men who police say are among their “highest priority targets” on south Vancouver Island have been linked with the seizure of a “pharmacy” of illegal drugs valued at $542,000.
Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit — known as the province’s anti-gang force — said the two men, a 37-year-old Langford resident and a 27-year-old man from Saanich, are believed to be high-level drug traffickers.
They were arrested during the June 6 execution of a search warrant at an apartment on Peatt Road in Langford, near Goldstream Avenue, police said Thursday. Two other search warrants were carried out the same day, one about a block away on Claude Road in Langford and one on Heatherdale Lane in Saanich.
A man who lives in the Claude Road area said he wasn’t “the least bit surprised” when the police moved in and raided a house there.
The man, who identified himself as “Gerry,” said there has been a “big time” increase in criminal activity in the neighbourhood. He didn’t want to have his last name published, he said. “I’m taking no chances.”
Houghton said the 37-year-old is well known to police, and is believed to be associated with people involved in organized crime on Vancouver Island.
“Both [men] are also alleged to have ties to Lower Mainland drug networks,” he said.
They have been released from custody while police assess the case to pinpoint which of numerous drug- and weapons-related offences to pursue.
Charges are expected in a month.
Among the drugs seized were two kilograms of cocaine, 12.7 kilograms of marijuana, 10 litres of GHB or the “date-rape” drug, one kilogram of crystal meth and 200 ecstasy pills.
Police also found ammunition and two shoulder holsters but no weapons, leading to concern that they might be stored elsewhere.
Houghton said it was disturbing to police that the residence searched on Claude Road is in an especially populous area near family homes and adjacent to a daycare.
“Any time we have this kind of serious public-safety issue, we are going to do everything in our power to target it, dismantle it and ensure it no longer exists in our communities.”
Officers found evidence of a licensed medical-marijuana growing operation at one of the locations, Houghton said.
“We are now determining whether that grow operation is in compliance with its licence.”
One of the residents living near the Claude house said they suspected something unusual was happening there.
“We saw this car parked there and we were going to call it in as a suspicious vehicle, then found out it was the police,” she said.
“You see all these nice cars but you never really see anybody outside the house.
“When you see really nice cars, it makes you wonder.”