Reducing gang violence in Kelowna

Month long investigation results in drug and weapon seizures

  • $670,000 worth of drugs seized
  • Police says more young people are joining gangs

A joint police operation aimed at gangs in the wider region has netted a major haul of drugs.

The work, in July, involving the Kelowna RCMP and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British of Columbia (CFSEU-BC), also resulted in weapon seizures.

However, no one has been taken into custody at this time in Kelowna.

Police said the goal of the operation was to disrupt and reduce offender’s opportunities for moving illicit substances, engaging violence, or becoming victims of violence themselves.

“This allowed for the strategic deployment of our UGET (Uniform Gang Enforcement Team) officers into specific areas to more effectively target the individuals who pose the most significant risk to public safety and our partner Thompson-Okanagan communities,” Superintendent Alison Laurin, CFSEU-BC’s Deputy Operations Support Officer said in a press conference on Wednesday.

During their investigation, the UGET team confiscated 1.84 kg of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, and 224 kg of non-government issued cannabis.

The street value of the illicit drugs is estimated at approximately $670,000 and the amount of fentanyl seized is the equivalent to 29,000 lethal doses.

Weapons including rifles, brass knuckles, and machetes were also seized.

“CFSEU utilizes a wider range of methods to combat and mitigate gang crime, and anytime we can take away weapons such as the GSG-16 rifle off the streets…we’ve done our job in terms of suppressing the gang violence that puts us at risk,” Laurin said.

She noted there seems to be more young people joining gangs.

“Gang involvement is beginning as early as high school, and that’s why we’re speaking to the community that this is not solely a policing problem, this is a problem where the entire community needs to come together and make sure our youth have the sense of belonging and purpose they’re looking for,” she explained.

Published 2022-09-21 by Connor Chan

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