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Downtown Victoria art gallery used as drug house: Victoria Police

Victoria Police Const. Mike Russell stands next to a huge haul of drugs and moonshine, including $10,000 worth of marijuana. The months-long investigation targeted alleged drug dealing out of The Loft Gallery at 819 Fort St. The business has since closed. - Daniel Palmer/news staff
Victoria Police Const. Mike Russell stands next to a huge haul of drugs and moonshine, including $10,000 worth of marijuana. The months-long investigation targeted alleged drug dealing out of The Loft Gallery at 819 Fort St. The business has since closed.
— image credit: Daniel Palmer/news staff

A downtown Victoria art gallery and after-hours club has been shut down because its owner was supplying drugs and moonshine to teenagers, according to a months-long Victoria Police Department investigation.

Police executed a search warrant at The Loft Gallery, located at 819 Fort St., on May 22 as part of "Operation Dali," said VicPD Const. Mike Russell.

Inside, officers found pounds of marijuana, a large bag of hash, cocaine, prescription drugs and about eight litres of moonshine, a homemade liquor that can poison consumers when poorly produced.

A connected residence on Oswego Street also netted methamphetamine, ketamine and cash.

The drugs were supplying youth drug dealers who do business mostly on the corner of Douglas and View streets, Russell said.

"Certainly getting the supplier … is going to put a dent in that," he said.

Drug-trafficking charges are being recommended against a 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, both of Victoria.

A 19-year-old Duncan man related to the investigation was fooled into meeting police with two pounds of marijuana and arrested as well, Russell said.

Three suspect vehicles were also seized as proceeds of crime.

“This bust is a culmination of a lot of hard work from officers … and will put a dent in downtown drug trade as well as the disorder we are working hard to end in the Douglas and View streets area," said Sgt. Wade Murray, in charge of VicPD's beat section.

The gallery owner was a tenant in the building and not in possession of either business or liquor licences, Russell said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

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