Early warning through media did little to scatter suspects
Even with the cat out of the bag, the Victoria police drug sting operation was a success.
Earlier this month, undercover officers bought drugs from 27 prolific dealers downtown — specifically in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue and in Reeson Park on Wharf Street. Then, police told the media about the operation before making arrests.
Two weeks ago, VicPD Const. Mike Russell told the Victoria News, “We’re kind of banking that (the dealers) are not reading the paper.”
Alas, on May 19, one of those alleged dealers was arrested with the Victoria News article poking out of his pocket.
“They’ve chosen a lifestyle, and I don’t think reading the article would have made a difference to any of them,” said Const. Mike Massine with VicPD.
In all, 22 people were arrested, mostly between May 17 and 19. The undercover operation happened May 3 to 6, with officers purchasing cocaine, heroin and marijuana from suspected dealers in the downtown core.
The evidence from those buys were used to secure arrest warrants against 27 men and women for trafficking. All were approved by Crown counsel.
With warrants in hand, officers went back to the streets to make the arrests, netting 22 of the 27. Five more are wanted on outstanding warrants.
In the big picture, Massine said, the relatively large operation will not have a lasting crime-reducing effect on the neighbourhood.
“Realistically, it’s going to have a temporary impact,” he said. “Even if we can put away a dealer for a substantial amount of time, another can move in to fill the need.
“(But) we have to do something, to make the best use of our resources and if we have areas where we’re getting more complaints, we’re going to focus in those areas.”
Some of the men and women arrested will have to abide by red-zone conditions, meaning that after their release from prison, they will not be allowed in the city’s downtown core.