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Longstanding dial-a-dope ring cracked: VicPD

Const. Kris Rice with VicPD
Const. Kris Rice with VicPD's strike force unit holds two large rocks of crack-cocaine in front of cash and other drugs seized from a Songhees Road apartment on Thurdsay, Sept. 8. Police say the unit was the base of a region-wide dial-a-dope operation. Four Victoria men were arrested and could be charged with multiple drug offences.
— image credit: Erin Cardone/News staff

The overwhelming scent of sour chemicals wafted from Tupperware containers, stacked and bagged, at VicPD's headquarters. Inside were ounce upon ounce of powder and crack cocaine, seized from a tidy, higher-end condo in the Songhees area on Thursday.

"It was a pretty slick operation," said Const. Kris Rice, an officer with the department's strike force unit.

Strike force and emergency response team officers took the suite Thursday morning after a month-long surveillance operation on what police are calling a mid-level dial-a-dope service that distributed drugs across the Capital Region.

Inside the suite, which Rice said was neat and organized, investigators found 464 grams of crack cocaine, 150 grams of powder cocaine and 1,000 ecstasy tablets, as well as $2,700 cash and two vehicles – a 1999 Saturn sedan and a late-1980s Honda. They showed off the drugs and cash, along with several cellphones, at the police department on Friday.

In total, the drugs seized were worth $70,000 on the street, police said.

"It (was) definitely going to the street, as well as the partier, the recreational user – people who can afford it more," Rice said of the supply. "These guys aren't the Costco of dealers; they were like the Thrifty's (of dealers)."

He said the suspects would deliver drugs upon request in Greater Victoria.

Four men – three in their late 20s and one in his early 30s – were arrested Thursday morning at an apartment in the 0-block of Songhees Rd. None had criminal records, a detail that ties in to their vehicles of choice: "We notice (dealers) when they're driving Hummers," Rice said, adding the suspects weren't flashy about their operation.

Sgt. Mike Johnston of VicPD's strike force unit, said in a statement, "The magnitude of this investigation was astounding. This was one of the busiest dial-a-dope operations we have ever worked."

Rice clarified the suspects could make deals as often as every few minutes.

"I'd say these guys have been operating a long time," he added.

Officers are recommending the oldest suspect be charged with trafficking, while the younger three could be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking. All four were released from custody and could be re-summoned to court if charges are approved by Crown counsel.

ecardone@vicnews.com

 

Police bust one-woman drug supply biz

Police say they also shut down a one-woman drug supply operation housed in an Esquimalt apartment Thursday morning.

Const. Mike Russell said the woman is suspected of stocking dealers who sell in downtown Victoria, such as the 900-block of Pandora Ave. and Douglas and Yates streets.

"She was supplying a lot of people we know downtown," he said. "This is definitely going to put a wrinkle in that."

After a week-long investigation, officers identified two suites in one apartment building in the 800-block of Craigflower Rd. At 10:30 a.m., Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team officers went to the apartment armed with two search warrants. There, they arrested a 47-year-old woman and seized evidence from the suites. There are no other suspects in the case.

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