Victoria Police Const. Mike Russell stands next to a huge haul of drugs and moonshine

Downtown Victoria art gallery used as drug house: Victoria Police

Massive haul of illegal drugs confiscated at art gallery popular with teenagers; two Victoria suspects face charges

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.


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

Just Posted

Victoria’s top 10 worst intersections for crashes in 2019

Last year saw 2,560 crashes in Victoria

Improvements flowing to Sooke salmon hatchery

Sooke River Jack Brooks Hatchery hooks major funding

VicPD investigating two stabbings after confrontation in Centennial Square

Two men in hospital, one with life-threatening injuries

Man who punched UVic student gets more jail time for similar assault two weeks later

Latto Simian Sesay has been sentenced to more than 10 years for the two assaults

UPDATED: Missing 58-year-old Langford man found

Joseph Cote was last seen Aug. 4

VIDEO: Disabled Vancouver Island feline teaching foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Parksville artist takes home Sooke Fine Arts People’s Choice Award

Francine Street’s winning piece is titled ‘Ken’

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Vancouver Island

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou, make Port Alberni pitstop

Bear put down after being found on Vancouver Island kitchen counter

Bear trapped and killed near Ucluelet after repeated instances of entering sheds and homes

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Second phase of NHL draft lottery set for Monday

Each club eliminated from qualifying round has a 12.5 per cent shot at the No. 1 pick

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

Most Read