Police on Vancouver Island seized over $100,000 worth of illicit cannabis and nicotine vape products they say were being distributed to minors.
On Friday, March 17, Saanich Police detectives seized over $100,000 worth of vaping products that they say were being sold to youth at local schools.
The investigation began in November 2022 when police looked into reports that people were visiting middle and high schools in Saanich for the purpose of selling vaping products to students under the age of 18.
Over the next several months, the investigation uncovered individuals selling vaping products to youth at schools across the Victoria BC region, both during and after school hours. They were also seen selling to young people at malls and parks, accepting cash or cards by processing their payment through portable Point of Sale machines.
The sellers used food delivery service bags like Skip the dishes, duffle bags, or plastic totes to disguise their operation.
Then, on March 17, 2023, with the assistance of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, the Saanich Police Department’s Street Crime Unit executed a search warrant at a business in the 700 block of Vanalman Avenue. Officers located and seized over $100,000 worth of vaping products, including vape kits, pens, e-cigarettes, tanks, e-liquids, and disposables. They also seized liquids that contained up to 98% THC content, as well as some tobacco products.
Investigators say that the sellers were advertising and reaching out to their customers mainly through Snapchat to advertise their products. Sellers would then send direct messages to youth to confirm prices and schedule a delivery time and location for pickup.
Police say that no arrests have been made yet and that the investigation is still ongoing.
“It is clear that the items are branded and marketed in such a way to entice youth into buying them, and these individuals specifically targeted schools to sell their products,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades.