The driver of a car stopped for speeding near Swartz Bay ferry terminal had a large quantity of illicit drugs in his trunk and business cards advertising the sale of marijuana that included a web address and an offer of home delivery, police say.
Const. Drew Hildred of the Capital Regional District’s Integrated Road Safety Unit was doing speed enforcement just after 8 a.m. Tuesday on the approach to the terminal — where the limit is 50 kilometres an hour — and clocked an early-1990s Lexus at 87 km/h.
He said when he pulled the car over to issue a $196 ticket, he noticed what seemed to be a smell of marijuana but couldn’t be absolutely sure where it was coming from. After turning away momentarily to write the ticket, he was satisfied when he returned that a marijuana smell was coming from the car.
He arrested the driver on suspicion of possessing the drug.
“He admitted to smoking marijuana in the vehicle earlier. However, the smell that I smelled was more than what he admitted to,” Hildred said.
A search of the car’s trunk turned up about 20 pounds of marijuana in half-pound bags, worth from $80,000 to $100,000, along with 65 grams of a strong marijuana derivative known as shatter, valued at about $6,000, and 28 grams of hashish.
About $3,500 in cash and a digital scale were also found.
Hildred said that the driver “definitely felt that what he was doing was OK.”
Police do not know the destination for the drugs, although the driver did say he was headed to Vancouver to gamble at a casino.
“In my personal experience I’ve stopped people for unrelated matters with drugs on them, but never something of this magnitude,” Hildred said at a news conference Thursday, where the seized drugs were displayed.
Integrated Road Safety Unit Cpl. Ryan Bacica said the drugs were vacuum-sealed and covered in a number of bags in an attempt to conceal the odour. They were found inside two plastic containers and a duffle bag.
Bacica said the driver is “a self-admitted advocate for marijuana use,” and was “cavalier” at the time of the arrest, wanting to talk about his views on marijuana.
Const. Kerry Whitbread, a drug-recognition expert, said it is “not uncommon” for large amounts of marijuana to be moved on area streets. But finding shatter is a concern because it is about 16 times more potent than regular bud marijuana, he said. “Shatter’s probably been around for a couple of years now but definitely is gaining popularity.”
A 28-year-old Saanich resident was released from custody and is to appear in court on a charge of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.