Drugs, murder and shootings seem to be trending upwards in Kamloops, much to the dismay of police in the B.C. city of 90,000.
So much so that on Tuesday, Kamloops RCMP issued a press release recapping some of the violent incidents that have occurred recently.
“We are in the middle of an opioid crisis which is largely caused and fuelled by organized crime,” Kamloops RCMP said in a press release on Tuesday. “We have seen a trend in Kamloops of high levels of violence occurring with the local participants of our drug community.”
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Since the fall, police say there have been four reported drug-related murders, including one which may be a case of mistaken identity.
“We recognize that recent acts of violence are concerning for the residents in our community and the Kamloops RCMP is committed to identifying those responsible,” Kamloops RCMP said on Tuesday. “While we cannot say there is no risk to the general public, we can say that each of the incidents appear to be targeted.
“For those involved in these shootings or people who know them – we ask that you think about the safety of your family, friends and the general public. The manner that you have chosen to resolve this dispute is careless and unacceptable. Public safety remains the No. 1 priority for the Kamloops RCMP.”
Below is a rundown of violent incidents in Kamloops since October.
Oct. 3, 2018
Troy Gold of Penticton is reported missing. He is found dead on Nov. 2, with police calling it a murder. Police say the case is still being investigated and that “the victim was a participant in the local Kamloops drug trade, as are all of the suspects.”
Dec. 6, 2018
Police execute a search warrant at a local business. Police say this was the conclusion of an investigation into a home invasion that was first reported in January of 2018. Police say the home invasion occurred at a rental home that was being used as a “stash house” by participants in the Kamloops drug trade.
Police say Cameron Cole was arrested and charged with numerous firearms and explosive offences. Charles Patrick was arrested and charged with firearm, weapon and property offences.
Two men were killed in two separate Kamloops hotels, Rex Edward Gill of Penticton and Cody Marcel Mathieu. Police say “one victim was a participant in the local Kamloops drug trade, as are the suspects.”
Police added though that Gill has no known connection to the Kamloops drug trade and that they are “exploring the possibility that this might have been a case of mistaken identity.”
Police say the suspects have been identified but it is still an open and active investigation.
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A downtown robbery turns into a kidnapping case. Police say the victims are participants in the local Kamloops drug trade, as are the suspects.
“This was a very fluid and dynamic investigation that led to several dynamic and tactical operations around the community, which concluded with a tactical operation in Kelowna,” said Kamloops RCMP.
Justin William Daniels was arrested in Kelowna and has been charged with armed robbery and forcible confinement.
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A shooting at a North Shore residence turns into a murder investigation. Police say Jason Glover died from injuries. Police also said there was a second victim, but did not release any information on that person, including the victim’s health condition.
However, RCMP did say that both victims were participants in the Kamloops drug trade.
Police added they are working many leads and that this investigation is still in its early stages.
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As to why there’s been a rise in violence, police said “many of these crimes are being committed by people against their own local allegiances. Not all violence is one group against another.
“It is not safe to be a drug trafficker in Kamloops right now. The group who is supplying your drugs today may be the same ones who will kill you tomorrow. If you know who is doing the violence, it’s time to contact the police.
“We continue to target those who pose the greatest risk and commit acts of violence in our community. Crimes like this will attract police to your drug organization.”