Friday, July 19, 2024

VicPD’s Del Manak frustrated after multiple guns and drugs seized at supportive housing facility


A supportive housing facility  on Johnson Street that has been causing problems for VicPD has been searched once again by police, resulting in cash, guns and drugs being seized.

Following a prior search and seizure, VicPD obtained a second search warrant to access one unit of a temporary, multi-unit residence in the 800-block of Johnson Street on January 10th. 

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) was on hand to aid VicPD in the execution of the search warrant at the  residence in question. 

Police say they found two firearms, one of which was loaded, in the search as well as cash and 1.4 kilograms of illicit drugs believed to be methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine. 

According to police, one man was arrested and released with pending charges related to firearms and drug trafficking.

Three weeks prior search and seizure

Three weeks prior to the latest search of the residence, police executed an initial search warrant on the same unit. 

During that search, two other firearms were seized along with two kilograms of illicit drugs and over $50,000 in cash. 

(Two guns seized in initial search/VicPD)

Other charges were recommended to the crown by police during this search to the same man for possession of firearms and drug trafficking. A woman was also arrested in this incident.

December 20th incident

Police say that one week after the initial search and seizure, following the man and woman’s release, the man approached staff of the temporary housing building and threatened to shoot staff with a gun. 

According to VicPD, he was arrested for this incident as well, however no firearm was found to be in his possession. Police did find drugs and over $3,500 in cash on him.

For this incident, police recommended charges relating to drug possession and trafficking.

“To seize firearms from any supportive housing location is unacceptable and to seize this number of firearms is extremely troubling,” stated Chief Del Manak. 

“These weapons are being used to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and the level of violent crime we are seeing here is a significant risk to residents and staff.” 

“I want to reassure our community that VicPD are working closely with our partners to address these ongoing safety concerns.”

July 2022 search warrants

Police add that in July of 2022, officers executed several simultaneous search warrants which rendered the seizure of a loaded handgun, shotgun, ammunition, replica firearms, a conducted energy weapon, ballistic vest, brass knuckles, axes, batons and miscellaneous firearms parts from the same temporary housing building. 

In that seizure, police arrested a man and woman and recommended numerous charges relating to firearms offences.

VicPD says that all the above files are under investigation.

Police ask that if anyone has information about any of these incidents call VicPD at (250) 995-7654. To report anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Why are the suspects not being held in custody?

According to police, with the national implementation of Bill C-75 in 2019, a “principal of restraint” requires police to release an accused individual at the earliest possible chance. 

Considerations of this law allow police to use their best judgment regarding  the likelihood the accused will attend court, the imminence of the risk posed to public safety, and the impact on confidence in the criminal justice system.

Additional considerations are given  in circumstances where the individual is a vulnerable person or Indigenous. This is to address disproportionate impacts that the criminal justice system has on these populations.

Curtis Blandy

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