By JENNIFER ZIELINKSI
KELOWNA — Police were kept busy busting drug dealers in and around Centre of Gravity, a music festival, over the weekend – including in the portable toilets.
RCMP Const. Jesse O’Donaghey said plain clothes officers witnessed several obvious hand-to-hand drug deals that led to the arrest of the dealers and the seizure of suspected illicit drugs packaged and ready for sale.
“In one case, officers watched as an alleged drug dealer entered into a Porta Potty on site with suspected buyers to complete the drug transaction,” explained O’Donaghey. “The suspect, a 28-year-old Kelowna man, was arrested upon exiting the portable toilet. He was found in possession of nearly 20 grams of suspect MDMA, a digital scale and a large amount of cash.”
Police said they were also informed by festival goers of others who they believed were dealing drugs.
Those arrested mostly hailed from the Lower Mainland, including Maple Ridge, Langley and Vancouver, and they each face potential charges of trafficking.
Local officers worked with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams over the weekend.
"Officers with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team encountered an Alberta man wanted in Alberta on several outstanding warrants for his arrest,” said O’Donaghey.
“The man, who provided false names to police, was arrested for obstruction and found in possession of a controlled substance contrary to conditions related to a court order.”
The Alberta man’s warrants will be extended to B.C.
He was held in police custody over the weekend.
“In one instance, an intoxicated 19-year-old man of Invermere was arrested after he was interfering with officers arresting an intoxicated individual,” said O’Donaghey. “The man who had flipped a table over, also smashed out the rear window of a marked police vehicle at the event.”
Several impaired drivers were also taken from the road over the three days of festival.
During COG in 2015, Kelowna RCMP responded to about 384 calls for service in Kelowna’s downtown compared to about 257 in 2016.
Over the weekend, a total of 83 people were transported from Centre of Gravity to cells.