More than 5,000 doses of heroin are off Kamloops streets after an RCMP raid on an Aberdeen hotel room revealed several hundred grams of the drug, with an estimated street value of $100,000.
"It's very major in terms of community safety," said Const. Cheryl Bush, Kamloops RCMP media liaison, during a press conference at the Kamloops detachment Thursday.
But removing that much heroin from circulation has its good and bad sides, says addictions awareness advocate Bob Hughes.
"We might see people that take this as an opportunity for accessing a detox because, 'Hey it's time for getting on methadone' or you can see some people really scrambling to find their drug because they're going through withdrawal," said Hughes.
The bust happened on Wednesday around 6:30 p.m. when police executed a search warrant after an investigation led them to a hotel room in south Kamloops. Police won't reveal the name of the business.
RCMP seized 500 grams of heroin, which they believe to be pure, and a substance used to cut the drug to a more diluted form. They also found a small quantity of cocaine and $1,000.
Guljit Singh, 43, is charged with possession of heroin and trafficking. He was held in custody and is expected to appear in provincial court today to seek bail. A woman who was also arrested has been released without charges.
Bush wouldn't disclose specifics on what led police to the drugs but would only say the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation.
"Something smaller can lead to something bigger," she said. "And when you have a seizure of this nature, further information can be gleaned from this."
Hughes, executive director of ASK Wellness, said the society's needle-exchange program indicates an increase in intravenous drug users in the city.
He said ASK issued warnings recently about a "bad batch" of heroin causing overdoses in Kamloops, and suggested this may have been at the root of the police investigation.
However Bush said police weren't aware of bad heroin or an increase in overdoses, but every little bit counts.
"Hopefully this makes a small dent on the streets, if that's where it was destined for," said Bush. "In pure form the heroin is extremely potent. Anytime there's a seizure of this quantity made, obviously it's going to affect some drug trade at some level."
In the end, said Hughes, the impact of the bust will only be temporary.
"The reality is, it won't last long," he said. "Somebody else will bring it in. You're not going to eradicate heroin trafficking."