Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jul 2010
Source: Nanaimo Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Nanaimo Daily News
Author: Dustin Walker


Gabriola RCMP want the public to help them crack down on drug activity
on the Island, but one officer says that some people in the tight-knit
community might be reluctant to turn in their neighbours.

RCMP have busted a number of marijuana-growing operations on Gabriola
this year. Most recently, police dismantled two grow-ops at two
separate homes on July 8. About 200 plants were seized from a home on
Gallagher Way and five firearms and a crossbow were also found inside,
police say. They arrested a man and a woman.

A man was arrested later that day after police served a search warrant
at a Dunshire Road home and found another grow-op, police say. It was
not connected to the Gallagher Way home.

In February, police busted four unconnected grow-ops on the island in
a day.

Gabriola RCMP say enforcement and education surrounding drug activity
on the island is a focus for the three-person detachment this year.
But with just a few officers stationed on the island, it's important
for the public to provide the RCMP with information, said Const. Mike

"We can't fight this fight alone, we need the public's help in
identifying people who are doing this," he said.

Although Reid says that the community has already been "extremely
helpful" as police target drug activity, he adds that it's not always
easy to get people in small communities to bring information forward.

Because people in communities like Gabriola don't have the same
anonymity as residents in larger centres, some people are nervous
about even being seen talking to police officers off-duty, he said.

"On an island, you're going to run into the same people, you're going
to see the same people. I think there is a reluctance, but that's why
we say Crime Stoppers is a great tool," said Reid.

Richard Payne, who ran as a candidate for the B.C. Marijuana Party,
thinks many people on Gabriola Island are part of a culture that is
more accepting of marijuana and are less likely to help police target

"They like to be isolated, they like to be free (and) not just part of
the system," he said.

Reid said he's not sure if there's a culture on Gabriola Island that
is more accepting of marijuana than other communities. He points out
that RCMP are not just targeting marijuana grow-ops but all drug
activity in the community through enforcement and education. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D