Drug-raid ‘flop house’ full of needles, to be demolished

The Duncan home where RCMP carried out a drug bust on Thursday has been described by neighbours and bylaw officers as a flop house.

It was littered with hundreds of needles and contaminated with fentanyl, according to the Mounties who carried out the raid at 454 Garden St., which resulted in the arrest of 15 people.

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The heat and hot water has been cut off, the Duncan fire chief has deemed the house uninhabitable and it could be slated for demolition, said bylaw enforcement supervisor Garry Kerr.

Kerr, a retired RCMP officer, said the conditions of the house were the worst he’s seen since his time with the municipality.

“Nobody from the City of Duncan would enter that residence due to fear of contamination,” he said.

The rental property has been the subject of at least two dozen bylaw complaints over the past year, Kerr said, about noise, excessive garbage and suspected drug dealing.

“There have been more complaints than I even care to think of,” he said. The landlord has been given hundreds of dollars in fines as a result.

A neighbour of the rental property, who did not want to give his name, said it’s inhabited by a rotating cast of tenants, some of whom stay for a few months and then leave. Every time a tenant moves out, he said, mattresses and personal items are discarded on the front lawn, which is also littered with bike parts, chairs and gears.

Bylaw officers come by and clean up the garbage, but before long, a new pile of debris forms, the neighbour said.

Neighbours’ concerns about drug dealing, fuelled by the sight of people constantly coming and going from the white bungalow, were heeded by the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, who are carrying out an investigation.

Police seized suspected heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl, along with an imitation firearm and high-end bicycles, believed to be stolen.

Six of the 15 people arrested were released and nine were taken into custody. The RCMP has not announced any charges.

On Friday, some tenants had returned to the house and were upset to find out the heat and hot water had been cut off, the neighbour said.

The landlord has tried to evict tenants, Kerr said, but has had little success in enforcing the eviction orders. He said the owner has been working with the City of Duncan to resolve problems involving the tenants.

According to land title documents, the house is owned by Happiness Town Holdings Ltd., which lists its directors as Saanich residents Gang Meng and Lei Shi.

The property is valued at $292,500. The land is worth $152,000 and the structure is worth $50,500.

The owner is out of the country, Kerr said, but in speaking to an agent, he confirmed the owner plans to demolish the bungalow.

Because of the level of contamination, WorkSafe B.C. will have to approve the demolition and ensure any hazardous materials are removed safely.

“It has been a bit of a long process in trying to deal with this house,” Kerr said.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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