Six arrested in drug bust have Lower Mainland gang ties, police say

Saanich police have arrested six people believed to have ties to gangs on the Lower Mainland following an investigation into a drug-trafficking operation in an apartment on Gorge Road West.

The six were arrested Sunday after the Saanich police street-crime unit, Victoria police, the regional crime unit and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit B.C. gathered information on an illicit drug-distribution network, Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie said Tuesday.

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“During the investigation, it was determined that the group of individuals had apparent connections to criminal affiliations in the Lower Mainland,” he said.

When police searched the apartment in the 100-block of Gorge Road West Monday, they found a .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle with a loaded magazine of 25 rounds, said Eassie.

“This is obviously very disturbing, very concerning for members of the public,” said the officer.

Police also found two replica handguns, 26 litres of GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid), known as the date-rape drug, 100 grams of crystal meth, four ounces of heroin, 16 grams of marijuana and $20,000 cash. Drug paraphernalia including score sheets, scales, packaging material and several canisters of bear spray were also recovered from the apartment.

A 41-year-old Saanich woman has been held in custody and is facing three charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, unsafe storage of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, breaching court-ordered conditions and possession of credit-card data.

A 36-year-old Saanich man also held in custody is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, while a 35-year-old Saanich woman was released and may be charged with possession of a controlled substance, said Eassie.

Other arrests included a 29-year-old Vancouver man, who was held on outstanding warrants for theft and obstructing a police office, and a 22-year-old Sooke man arrested for breaching court-ordered conditions.

A 31-year-old Vancouver woman was released but may be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. She has known criminal ties in Vancouver and has been convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking in the past, said Eassie.

He said the accused appeared to be using the apartment as a safe house, a place to get drugs and conduct business.

Police arrested several of the accused as they drove away in separate cars from the apartment Sunday. The first arrest was made about 4 p.m. Others were arrested as they walked out of the apartment.

Three cars were also seized and searched on Monday, said Eassie.

The apartment building is located in a family neighbourhood, close to Gorge Park.

“We’re hoping the area of Gorge Road will notice a decrease in the number of individuals coming and going, perhaps being under the influence of drugs in the area,” said Eassie. ldickson@timescolonist.com

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