Crack cook house dismantled in James Bay

Four crack cooks arrested in two-month operation

  • Jul. 13, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Mike Russell

Mike Russell

Behind the walls of an apartment on sleepy Simcoe Street, a dirty business operated.

While seniors strolled by on the sidewalks out front, four people worked a crack-making cookhouse, according to Victoria police.

“These guys (were) supplying to mid-level drug dealers,” said Const. Mike Russell.

“They’d take that powder cocaine – that’s how it comes to B.C. here. It comes to a cook house and they convert it into something that can be smoked, rock or crack. Once they do that, it’s sold to (dealers).”

For two months, Victoria police officers watched the apartment and gathered intelligence.

Last Thursday (July 7), armed with search warrants, they entered the apartment and found evidence of a cook house: measuring cups, scales and baking powder. Also inside were two large rocks of crack, weighing about 60 grams each, plus a more than a half-kilogram of powder cocaine, and a small amount of marijuana.

Altogether, the drugs are estimated to be worth $30,000 on the street – and about double that amount when broken up and sold to consumers.

At the apartment, a 37-year-old man from Victoria and a 37-year-old Langford woman were arrested.

“This is a large amount of drugs, certainly not the largest we’ve seen, but it’s going to make a dent in the local market,” said Russell.

The quiet area of James Bay was never at risk – the cooks likely did most of their transactions away from the property, and cooking crack is benign.

Basically, when powder cocaine is mixed with baking soda and microwaved, it becomes crack.

As part of their investigation, police officers also had a search warrant on a Langford house.

VicPD officers worked with RCMP to raid that house, although police refused to disclose the location to protect the identity of the suspects until charges have been approved.

Inside the house, investigators discovered $25,000 in cash – the house acted as a store room for the cook-and-sell operation. Three vehicles found at that address were seized and could be transferred to B.C. Civil Forfeiture where they would be auctioned as revenue for the province.

Two other suspects were arrested in a “high-risk takedown” on the Royal Oak offramp to the Pat Bay Highway.

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team officers identified a vehicle believed to be part of the cook operation and pulled it over. They arrested a 27-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, both from Langford.

Each of the suspects could be charged with possession of drugs and possession for the purpose of trafficking. They have all been released on promises to appear in court.

•••

On crack and gold

Crack sells for about the same price as gold.

Both commodities trade at about $1,500 per ounce.

“It’s quite remarkable,” said Sgt. Conor King, VicPD’s drug expert with its focused enforcement team.

He added the price of both have both steadily risen in recent years.

The price of cocaine in powder or crack form depends on supply and demand, as well as conditions in supply countries, such as some South American regions and Mexico. The current war on drugs in that country is toying with prices.

Heroin is one of the most expensive drugs on the market, at closer to $3,000 per ounce. Methamphetamines, which are produced in B.C., sell for considerably less.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read