Drug bust snares 8

Multiple charges laid after intelligence-led RCMP operation targeting drug trafficking.

Gazette staff

PORT HARDY—Eight North Islanders are facing multiple criminal charges after an intelligence-led RCMP operation targeting drug trafficking ended in four search warrants being executed and multiple drugs and weapons being seized last week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 9, the RCMP Island District General Investigation Section (IDGIS) launched a targeted project aimed at illicit drug trafficking within the communities of Port Hardy and Port McNeill. IDGIS, in partnership with the Port Hardy and Port McNeill RCMP Detachments, identified multiple individuals believed to be actively involved in the street-level drug trade.

As a result of evidence gathered during a five day period (Sept. 9-13), investigators obtained four search warrants which were executed at the following locations on Sept. 13:

7300 block of Pine Drive, Port Hardy;

2500 block of Cassiar Place, Port McNeill;

7300 block of Highland Drive, Port Hardy; and,

7000 block of Highview Road, Port Hardy.

The search warrant results are currently being processed, but preliminary information shows more than $35,000 in Canadian currency seized along with quantities of cocaine (crack cocaine), morphine, marijuana, pills believed to be Fentanyl, firearms, cell phones and other items commonly used in the trade of illegal drugs.

“The efforts of our local and regional police officers have resulted in eight people facing criminal charges and four suspected drug houses being raided,” said S/Sgt. Gord Brownridge, Commander of the Port Hardy RCMP. “We will be keeping up our efforts towards identifying, arresting and charging suspected drug traffickers in our communities. If you are involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs, you can expect to see a lot more of us in your future.”

Section (IDGIS) launched a targeted project aimed at illicit drug trafficking within the communities of Port Hardy and Port McNeill. IDGIS, in partnership with the Port Hardy and Port McNeill RCMP Detachments, identified multiple individuals believed to be actively involved in the street-level drug trade.

As a result of evidence gathered during a five day period (September 9-13), investigators obtained four search warrants which were executed at the following locations on September 13:

• 7300 block of Pine Drive, Port Hardy;

• 2500 block of Cassiar Place, Port McNeill;

• 7300 block of Highland Drive, Port Hardy; and,

• 7000 block of Highview Road, Port Hardy.

The search warrant results are currently being processed, but preliminary information shows over $35,000 in Canadian currency seized along with quantities of cocaine (crack cocaine), morphine, marijuana, pills believed to be Fentanyl, firearms, cell phones and other items commonly used in the trade of illegal drugs.

“The efforts of our local and regional police officers have resulted in eight people facing criminal charges and four suspected drug houses being raided,” stated S/Sgt. Gord Brownridge, Commander of the Port Hardy RCMP. “We will be keeping up our efforts towards identifying, arresting and charging suspected drug traffickers in our communities. If you are involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs, you can expect to see a lot more of us in your future.”

As a result of the investigative findings, eight adults are now facing criminal charges, including:

• Oliver Walkus, 55, of Port Hardy, is charged with three counts of trafficking cocaine and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine;

• Aaron Walkus, 21, of Port Hardy, is charged with one count of trafficking cocaine;

• Riaz Kulvi, 32, of Port Hardy, is charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited weapon, and possession of morphine for the purpose of trafficking;

• Ryan Daley, 31, of Port Hardy, is charged with two counts of trafficking cocaine;

• Eric Menard, 48, of Port Hardy, is charged with three counts of trafficking cannabis marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking cannabis marijuana;

• Leanne Kiiskila, 48, of Port Hardy, is charged with two counts of trafficking morphine; and,

• Jamie King, 33, of Port Hardy, is charged with two counts of trafficking cocaine.

The above suspects were released by a Judicial Justice of the Peace.

Also facing charges is Dennis Richards, 53, of Port McNeill, charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana, and one count of unsafe storage of a firearm.

A 55-year-old Port Hardy man was also arrested during the operation. As he has yet to be formally charged, his identity cannot be released.

All accused are set to make future appearances in B.C. Provincial Court.