VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Seventeen people are facing drug trafficking charges following an undercover investigation in Centennial Square conduced by the Victoria Police.
An undercover investigation from August 11 to 15 took place in response to an increase in violent crime linked to the drug trade in the area.
According to the Victoria PD, violent incidents included “the shooting of City Hall windows with a compressed air gun, multiple assaults and two stabbings on August 10th.”
During the investigation, officers said they experienced threats of violence and were even robbed.
Officers posed as customers and purchased drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, psilocybin and fentanyl from tents in Centennial Square.
17 people face 18 drug trafficking charges after Strike Force, Community Services Division & Patrol officers conducted an undercover drug-trafficking investigation in Centennial Square – THREAD (1/7). #yyj | https://t.co/92wbL4r7vQ pic.twitter.com/ocMhiTCX5P
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) August 26, 2020
“During the investigation, officers learned that several tents were used primarily for drug trafficking on a rotating basis. Officers observed that one day a tent would be used for drug transactions, while the next day bedding would be moved into the tent for someone to sleep in. The following day, the bedding would be removed and the same tent would revert to being used for drug trafficking,” the release reads.
“Officers conducted surveillance throughout the operation. It was during this time that officers noted that at least one of the suspects left their residence, drove their vehicle to Centennial Square, and parked a block away. They then attended a tent in the square, which was set up to conduct drug trafficking.”
Additional surveillance lead officers to stop a man who had entered Centennial Square with a concealed weapon.
“When officers spoke to the man, he remarked that he was armed with a concealed metal club as protection against the violence in Centennial Square.”
Of the 17 people facing charges, 15 are men and two are women. Five have been arrested but 12 individuals remain wanted on warrants.