BC man arrested for selling illegal drugs from mobile shop
May 5, 2023, 3:49 PM | Updated: May 7, 2023, 12:19 pm
(Kate Stone/KIRO Newsradio)
As Washington’s drug laws face an uncertain future, a Canadian man is trying a different tactic to fight back against deadly overdoses — using his mobile shop to sell heroin, cocaine, meth, and other drugs in Vancouver B.C.
Vancouver Police (VPD) arrested the man, Jerry Martin, for drug trafficking in connection with an illicit drug dispensary one day after his operation began in the Downtown Eastside.
“I think that day he was actually giving out free samples,” local resident Frank told KIRO Newsradio. “There were lines around the block.”
British Columbia is currently beginning a process to decriminalize minor drug possession, but it would still be illegal to sell them.
State Legislature battles over criminalizing drug possession
“We support measures aimed at improving public safety for people who use drugs, including harm reduction services and decriminalization,” said Vancouver Constable Tania Visintin in a prepared statement. “However, we remain committed in our position that drug trafficking will continue to be the subject of enforcement.”
VPD investigators officially seized two vehicles, body armor, and Canadian currency as part of the ongoing investigation. The 51-year-old man has been released from custody pending his next court appearance. As part of his release conditions, he is forbidden from returning to the Downtown Eastside. He is expected to be charged with drug trafficking, according to KIRO Newsradio’s Kate Stone.
Martin claimed he wanted to stop deadly overdoses by offering people drugs that have been tested for substances like fentanyl. He told CBC News he expected to be arrested, but plans to launch a constitutional challenge arguing for a legal and safe supply of drugs.
City of Kent creates legislation roadmap with drug possession ordinance
In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee is calling legislators back into the office for a special legislative session on May 16 in order to pass a new drug possession law. Inslee set the date after conversations with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders stalled at the end of the legislative session.
The current state law, which was passed as a stopgap after the State v. Blake decision, is set to expire in July. The bill classifies drug possession as a misdemeanor on the third arrest with a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Kate Stone contributed to this reporting