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Major Victoria drug traffickers caught and released
B.C.'s anti-gang squad and local police agencies have busted two of the top-level drug traffickers for Greater Victoria.
Police arrested a 37-year-old Langford man and a 27-year-old Saanich man on June 6, both who have a history of violent crimes and drug trafficking, and ties to organized drug crime in the Lower Mainland.
"These guys represent the top of the food chain for the Greater Victoria area," said Staff Sgt. Conor King with the Victoria police.
Both men have been released and no charges have been laid yet. Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC), expects charges to be filed within "a month or two."
CFSEU-BC officers led the investigation which culminated with the two suspects being arrested at a residence in the 2700-block of Peatt Rd. in Langford. Investigators also searched a home in the 2700-block of Claude Rd. in Langford and in the 500-block of Heatherdale Ln. in Saanich.
"These guys were the two highest priority targets on Vancouver Island," Houghton said. "What our investigators found most disturbing is that the (home) on Claude Road is in a highly populated area with families and right behind a day care."
From the three locations, officers seized 28 pounds of marijuana, two kilograms of cocaine, 1 kg of crystal meth, 10 L of GHB, 200 pills of ecstasy and 1 kg of a "buffing agent" used to cut cocaine, 9 mm ammo, scales, a money counter and gun holsters. The bulk value of the drugs is estimated at $542,000.
One of the search locations is licenced by Health Canada to grow medical marijuana, and the CFSEU is checking to see if that licence is in violation. All the bud seized came from the home with the licence.
Houghton acknowledged that it is troubling that ammo and gun holsters were found, but no guns. "That is very concerning. We think guns are out there related to this," he said.
Questioned why these men, perhaps armed and described as the highest level drug traffickers in the region, were released, Houghton said it is a process of establishing a maximum number of criminal charges.
"Rather than hold them on one charge we have the ability to release them and work with Crown to get many more charges," he told reporters Thursday morning. He insisted the CFSEU has "dismantled their ability to make money and create crime," and that officers would be watching, following and further investigating the two suspects.
The Vancouver Island district emergency response team, West Shore RCMP, Victoria police, Federal Serious Organized Crime and the Saanich police assisted CFSEU-BC during the arrests.
King said these suspects would sell to mid-level Greater Victoria dealers who purchased drugs "in quasi-bulk," who then who fed the street level or dial-a-dope dealers. He said it was feasible the two men would move the volume of drugs on display within a month.
"In south Vancouver Island, this is a significant amount of drugs," he said.