Why police are reaching out directly to drug dealers to calm the violence in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why police are reaching out directly to drug dealers to calm the violence in Kamloops

Police are investigating two homicides that occurred in the city on Jan. 23, 2019. Police were initially called out to the Super 8 Hotel in Valleyview after receiving reports of gunshots where a man was found lying on the ground.
February 22, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS — As the Tournament Capital continues to come to grips with a spate of murders and violence, police are reaching out directly to an unexpected audience for help — the city's drug dealers. 

They're the only ones who can help.

“They are the people who [police] are going to be working with and protecting and interviewing,” says Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Simon Pillay.

The average citizen can’t do much right now, Pillay says, which is why police are asking for the support of local drug dealers to help authorities bring the recent spike in drug-related violence to a halt.

“It’s not safe to be a drug trafficker in Kamloops right now," police spokesperson Cpl Jodi Shelkie said in a release last week, pleading directly to local drug dealers. “The group who is supplying your drugs today may be the ones who kill you tomorrow." 

Then she pointed out the advantages these drug dealers may realize in cooperating or otherwise working to help end the violence. 

"If you know who is doing the violence, it’s time to contact the police," Shelkie said. "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."

Pillay says a lot of the violence being committed over the last few months is by people against their own drug organizations. 

A week ago two people were shot at a residence on the North Shore. One man later died of his injuries. The day before, two men were robbed and a woman was kidnapped in Kamloops.

Last month, two men were killed in two separate shooting incidents outside of Kamloops hotels.

Other than one murder victim, police say their early investigations have identified all suspects and victims involved in the recent series of violent incidents and homicides were participants in the local Kamloops drug trade.

“These are not foreign gangsters from the lower mainland or any kind of invasion, these are all homegrown crime,” Pillay says.

He adds that police are hoping to reach out to future potential victims to speak to police.

“They are the ones in the best position to provide police with information to bring this to a halt,” he says. “It’s the people right involved in the inner workings of our drug community who can make this all come to a halt right now.”

Police say their top priority is targeting strategic offenders who are the most violent or encouraging the most violence.

“We target those who bring violence into our communities, we are not in a war on drugs,” Pillay says. “We are never going to eradicate every element of drug from the street of Kamloops.”

Pillay encourages these individuals involved in the local drug trade to call the RCMP detachment directly at 250-828-3000 and ask to speak to a drug investigator or serious crimes investigator.

“Their information will be taken seriously and it will be processed by people directly involved in these investigations,” he says. “The proper level of security or confidentiality will be applied on a case by case basis.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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