“Drug trafficking is an ongoing issue,” said Sgt. Steve Perret. “It's basically a big problem in Fort St. John 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Police busted three young people earlier this month taking drugs and weapons off the streets of Fort St. John.
“Unfortunately, these days drugs and guns go hand in hand,” he said. The weapons seized in this particular incident included a sawed off shotgun, a fully automatic firearm and two handguns.
“More often than not, when we seize drugs, especially a significant seizure of drugs, we often find these types of weapons as well.”
The drug section, along with the serious crime unit and crime reduction unit, seized four pounds of cannabis marijuana, almost 200 prescription and non-prescription pills, $10,000 cash and six firearms on July 10 while executing a search warrant in the 8800 block of 75 Street in Fort St. John.
“It's fortunate that we took these weapons off the street before someone got hurt,” said Perret. “These people clearly should not have had these guns.”
Three were arrested – a 19-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman. Both men were known to police, and all three suspects were released on bail.
“For us it's a significant seizure mainly because of the types of weapons we're dealing with,” said Perret. “Anytime we're dealing with handguns or prohibited weapons, such as fully automatic firearms, the potential for those weapons to be used to cause somebody bodily harm, or even worse, that's always a major concern to us.
“For us it's a major concern that the types of weapons that we seized, in the wrong hands, it could cause some significant bodily harm or death to somebody.”
In a statement, he noted that police are recommending charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, in addition to “numerous” firearm and weapons-related offences.
Perret said drugs are all too common in this region.
“Because there's a lot of money in Fort St. John, there's a lot of economic activity with the oil and gas industry, there's a lot of transient workers that come to town solely for the purpose of employment and there's a lot of young workers making good money in this town,” he explained.
“When you have those types of demographics – you have a young population with lots of disposable income – there is a market for drugs in the community.”
He said drugs are an ongoing issue in Fort St. John.
“I don't want it to be public how many seizures we've had because it goes in peaks and valleys,” said Perret.
“Sometimes there's significant investigative time invested to identify and apprehend drug dealers,” he continued. “At certain points, we have a number of seizures in a short amount of time and then there will be a lull while we're actively targeting drug traffickers.”
Perret said that police do not want it to become public when they're doing “intelligence gathering” or “actually doing enforcement” because it could impede investigations.
“Our drug section is continually trying to identify and target known drug traffickers in the community,” he said.
Perret said police rely heavily on “tips from the public” to aid in the identification of new problem areas or new drug traffickers in the community.
“I really want to emphasize to the citizens of Fort St. John that if they see drug trafficking, or they see any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood, to call us,” he said.
“You, as a Fort St. John resident, don't have to tolerate people who engage in this type of behaviour in your neighbourhood or next door to you. Call us. We do take all the tips seriously,” said Perret.
He also noted that if someone wants to stay anonymous, the information can be reported through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or online at www.crimestoppersfsj.ca.
Perret said, “We do fully investigate every one of those tips and do everything in our power to try and apprehend people trafficking drugs in Fort St. John.”