Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th Street in Courtenay Thursday morning (March 4), making multiple arrests in the process.
RCMP had access to 20th Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted the raid.
“I can confirm that we are at a residence on the 1600 block of 20 Street right now – we have our Street Crime Unit over there right now, executing a search warrant,” said Comox Valley RCMP media relations officer, Const. Monika Terragni, during an early afternoon briefing. “We are going to be at that residence for some time. We are still searching for evidence, gathering evidence, and determining what comes next.
“We did make quite a few arrests at that residence, and we still have several people in custody.”
Terragni said the purpose of the raid was to issue warrants associated with several different offences, and acknowledged that the property has been the subject of illegal activity – including illicit drugs – for a long time.
“That property has… for some time, been the subject of lots of different police reports, regarding drug trafficking, property offences and that sort of thing,” she said. “It is a known residence within the Courtenay community, and this (raid) is a result of a lot of complaints coming from the public, which allowed our Street Crimes Unit to really initiate a focused investigation on that residence.”
Neighbouring residents have reached out to media on several occasions in the past few years about the rash of illegal activities associated with that house, and another residence a couple of blocks away – both owned by the same landlord. Terragni said the police understand the frustration felt by neighbouring residents.
“We understand the frustration, and we share that frustration as well, going to the same area over and over again, for the same types of calls,” she said. “This is an opportunity… to reduce the crime in the area.”
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said this latest development is the result of diligent residents.
“That (neighbourhood) has been an area of concern for many years and I know that the RCMP have been working on it from a variety of angles,” he said. “As mayor of Courtenay, one of my primary concerns is the health, welfare and safety of our citizens… One of the biggest ways to help us with issues like this is to make sure that you are calling the RCMP to let them know about any concerns you might have. Even if they aren’t able to go out at that time, it does go on file. I think that’s absolutely critical. We may hear a lot about a problem area, but when we talk to the RCMP, they don’t have any actual reports from citizens, so we need to make sure that people take ownership and continue to call in and report (any illegal activity).
“It can be difficult and time-consuming to get to the point where we are able to take action like what has happened here, but we just have to keep the pressure on and keep getting those calls in. If those calls fall off, and people stop calling in, the impression might be that the problem has gone away.”
Terragni is hopeful these latest police actions will have a lasting effect on the illegal activity in the neighbourhood.
“Absolutely. Any time that we execute a search warrant and venture onto somebody’s property, we are disrupting that activity…. and any time that we disrupt criminal activity, it is going to have an effect.”
More to come…