May 19, 2016 - 11:11 AM
VERNON - Police have arrested a Vernon teenager believed to be involved in a recent escalation of violence in the city.
The arrest was made by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. Uniform Gang Enforcement Team, which was deployed to Vernon to assist with operations following three shooting incidents, and a violent break and enter since the beginning of April. The crimes are believed to be connected to the drug trade.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 17, police attended a residence in the 900-block of Bevan Court to investigate drug activity, according to a media release from the Special Enforcement Unit.
Mounties saw an individual suspected of being part of the current conflict in Vernon getting into the passenger seat of a vehicle. The car was stopped by police before leaving the residence, and a pat down of the suspect revealed two bottles of codeine and a loaded handgun.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested and taken into custody for possession of a loaded firearm without a license.
"It did not take long for members of the Gang Enforcement Team to make an arrest and take a loaded gun off of Vernon's streets that could have potentially killed someone," Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton says in the release. "With that gun now off the streets, it will not only make Vernon safer, but also destabilize and impact the ability of the associated criminal group to cause fear and violence.”
The Vernon RCMP detachment requested the assistance of the special unit to help deal with the rise in violence.
Vernon RCMP Superintendent Jim McNamara says the assistance will help bolster ongoing investigations into the crimes.
“Teaming up with a key partner agency such as the Special Enforcement Unit is part of our detachment's ongoing strategy to target individuals and groups involved in this violent activity. The arrest of one individual and removal of an illegal firearm from the streets this past week is a positive indicator as to what our investigations will yield,” McNamara says in the release.
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