Police will continue to crack down on drug dealers who have overrun a Cherry Avenue apartment complex until the neighbourhood is safe for residents.
“The pressure is going to stay on. We’re not going to just make the arrests and forget about it,” said Staff Sgt. Garry Kerr.
Kerr spoke at a press conference outside The Residences at Sun Valley Ridge Thursday, where a six-week long undercover drug operation is coming to an end.
The operation has gone a long way to silencing drug activity in the North Kamloops building and other areas of town by targeting low to mid-level dealers, he said.
Officers made buys and executed search warrants at a number of apartments at Sun Valley. Kerr said seven arrests were made, and more are expected to come.
RCMP held a press conference at the downtown detachment earlier in the day. Const. Pat Nagy said Kelly Marie Callfas, 41, has been charged with trafficking of a controlled substance.
She said three of the people arrested were not charged. Three others were released on a promise to appear in court and face charges of trafficking of a controlled substance. Most of the people arrested live in the building.
Nagy and members of the detachment’s drug section showed off bags of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy seized during the investigation. The collection has a street value of $3,000.
Police also have $1,000 in cash, cellphones and scales, said Nagy.
The volume of complaints from Cherry Avenue residents brought the problem to RCMP attention. Kerr said as many as 85 calls were made in two months.
“The police respond here more than any other apartment block in town,” he said. “It’s as many as two to five times greater here than anywhere else.”
Kerr hopes to use City bylaws and other agencies to clean up the building, he said.
Residents at Sun Valley have lived with the drug trade for at least a year. One man who asked not to be identified said the buzzer at the front door rings all night as buyers come and go.
He said one person has been stabbed and a man was attacked with a hatchet.
A landlady at a nearby apartment building was attacked and robbed in her suite last fall. Tenant Shira Summers said she wouldn’t be surprised if it was someone from her building.
Drugs aren’t the only problem at Sun Valley. She said tenants have been without hot water for three weeks and landlord Jason Hari continues to push for a rent increase despite deplorable living conditions.
Hari was found in contempt of court by a B.C. Supreme Court justice in September for not completing works to bring the building up to fire code. The judge levied a $1,000-a-day fine until work is completed and City Hall has yet to sign off.
The drug dealers and poor condition of the building have Summers poised to move, she said.
“A person can’t live this way,” she said.