Two men have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking, among others, after a months long investigation conducted by Victoria Police.
In several dramatic Strike Force operations spanning across five months, VicPD arrested the two men, Jordan Cody Moreland and Andrew Brian Ritch, on drug and firearms possession charges.
Police also seized several loaded handguns, modified firearms, body armour, ammunition, and $59,000 worth of drugs, including fentanyl.
Their investigation began in October 2019 with tips from the public, after which officers gathered further evidence through covert surveillance techniques.
On November 20th, after finding out that the suspect may be in possession of a firearm, police executed a search warrant at a residence in a multi-unit apartment building in the 1000-block of Tillicum Road.
As a result of this search, officers found and seized illicit drugs including cocaine and fentanyl, and a loaded 9 mm Glock semi-automatic handgun in a false compartment in one of the two vehicles operated by the suspect.
The suspect was taken into custody before being released. Officers are recommending six charges including possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property, breach of court-ordered conditions, and possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon.
As these charges have yet to be sworn in, the identity of the suspect has not been released.
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Two Victoria men are in custody facing drug, weapons and breach of conditions charges after three Strike Force operations targeting drug dealers and guns. The investigations were conducted over five months and included three files. They led to the seizure of loaded #handguns, modified firearms, body armour, ammunition, and drugs, including #fentanyl. More at https://vicpd.ca/2020/01/16/loaded-guns-drugs-and-ammunition-seized-in-strike-force-operations/ #yyj #strikeforce
About two months later, on January 9th 2020, the VicPD Strike Force and Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant in a drug trafficking and firearms investigation at a residence in the 700-block of Topaz Avenue.
There, they arrested Jordan Cody Moreland on charges for drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and several weapons offences.
Upon searching Moreland and his residence, police seized several ounces of fentanyl, cash, two loaded handguns, and ammunition.
He remains in custody and is facing charges of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking as well as several weapons-related offences.
From there, the teams proceeded to a multi-unit residential building in the 2600-block of Cook Street to execute a warrant related to the arrest of Moreland.
A video of the execution of a search warrant was sent to Victoria Buzz and uploaded on YouTube. In it, police can be seen taking a woman into custody while her dog is whisked away by Animal Control.
According to VicPD media spokesperson Bowen Osoko, the woman was later released and has not been charged, although the possibility of her facing charges in the future has not been ruled out. The dog was returned to her after she was released from custody.
After searching the residence, officers discovered more weapons, ammunition, and additional firearms including a modified assault-style rifle equipped with a homemade silencer.
Here’s the video
Back to the first residence
In the aftermath of these major finds, Strike Force investigators gathered more evidence and information from the public and returned to the apartment building in the 1000-block of Tillicum Road.
Using various surveillance methods, officers ascertained the presence of firearms in the residence and executed a search warrant there on January 10th, 2020.
This operation was the subject of widespread local media attention as officers closed the road to traffic out of an abundance of caution.
As a result of their investigation, police seized a loaded .40 calibre handgun and body armour from the residence.
They also took the suspect, 36-year-old Andrew Brian Ritch, into custody. He now faces charges of 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 VicPD Chief Del Manak.
It is unclear whether Ritch is the same suspect as the one apprehended in the November 20th operation.