Police arrested 11 people and seize drugs in raids on two homes in the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Police bust two drug houses in the Cowichan Valley, 11 arrested

Drugs seized and 11 people arrested

Eleven people were arrested and drugs seized during drug busts in two locations in the Cowichan Valley on Jan. 5 and Jan. 9.

Two women were arrested in the 2200 block of Cowichan Bay Road by officers from the Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP detachment on Jan. 5 as part of an ongoing investigation related to the trafficking of heroin and fentanyl.

Quantities of suspected fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine were seized and the RCMP is working with Crown counsel for consideration of charges as the investigation continues.

Nine more people were arrested after the RCMP executed an additional search warrant at a residence in the 1000 block of Trunk Road in Duncan on Jan. 9.

The residence had been identified as a well-known drug house and nuisance property, and evidence of drug trafficking led to the police raid during the evening hours, RCMP said.

Quantities of illicit and prescription drugs including suspected heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and GHB (gamma-hydroxy butyrate) were seized from the residence as well as scales, packaging, cash and other instruments used to traffic drugs.

The occupants were found to be residing in all areas of the home including the attic.

Several structural and building code violations were discovered and the RCMP engaged the City of Duncan bylaw officer, building inspector and the fire department to assess the issues.

B.C. Hydro was also contacted to remove electrical service from the property until the issues could be resolved.

Joseph Smith, 36, Darwin Hopkins, 51 and Ashley Jacobson, 26, have been charged with three counts each of possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. Smith has also been charged with an additional count of possession of a controlled substance, namely GHB. Smith was held in custody to appear in court on the outstanding charges. Hopkins and Jacobson have been released and are to appear in court on March 20.

“We are continuing to use every available option to combat drug trafficking in the Cowichan Valley and address the ongoing fentanyl crisis,” said Staff Sgt. Kurtis G. Bosnell.

“Those involved in the drug trade should be forewarned that it’s just a matter time – you could be next.”

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