The Victoria Police Department seized six loaded firearms, $59,000 in drugs, as well as body armour and ammunition in three busts.
2 men are in custody & we’ve seized 6 firearms, including several loaded Glock handguns & an SKS rifle modified w a silencer, $59,000 of fentanyl & other drugs. #StrikeForce #yyj pic.twitter.com/iwUO6sA06p
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) January 16, 2020
A five-month investigation, including three Strike Force operations, has led to two Victoria men being arrested. They remain in police custody and are facing charges relating to drugs, weapons and breach of conditions.
The investigation began after the public notified police about one of the men in October 2019. Officers did surveillance on the man while gathering information and evidence.
In late November, the first strike was carried out at a residential building in the 1000-block of Tillicum Road with the help of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT). Drugs – including cocaine and fentanyl – and a loaded nine millimetre Glock semi-automatic handgun, hidden in a false compartment in one of the vehicles, were seized by officers at the time. Two vehicles were also suspended.
A second man, Jordan Cody Moreland, was arrested on Jan. 9, in the 700-block of Topaz Avenue after officers searched him and found fentanyl, cash and a loaded handgun. Ammunition and another loaded handgun were also recovered, according to police.
Later that day, police searched a residential building in the 2600-block of Cook Street, which was believed to be connected to Moreland. There, a woman was arrested and four firearms including an air-powered pistol, two loaded handguns, and a modified, assault-style rifle with a home-made silencer were discovered.
Moreland faces charges and remains in custody.
The next day, following information from the previous investigations, police surveilled a residence in the 1000-block of Tillicum Road. After determining that a firearm was inside, officers executed a search warrant and found a loaded .40 calibre handgun and body armour.
Andrew Brian Ritch, a 36-year-old man, faces recommended charges including possession of a restricted weapon, firearms possession, possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition, possession of body armour and possession in contrary to a court order.
“The firearms seized through these efforts, including loaded handguns and an assault-style rifle modified to include a silencer, shows the risk that these individuals pose to our community and the vital need for these types of operations,” said Chief Del Manak.
As charges haven’t been sworn in the first incident, police can’t explain how all three arrests are connected, explained Bowen Osoko, spokesperson for VicPD.