Alleged drug house closed in Kopper King

Four bright green signs hang on a rickety trailer in the Kopper King neighbourhood proclaiming its occupants have five days to leave the property.

Four bright green signs hang on a rickety trailer in the Kopper King neighbourhood proclaiming its occupants have five days to leave the property.

The residents are being evicted for their alleged connection to illegal drugs. Officials say the operation was run out of the trailer.

The eviction notice was served Tuesday morning on behalf of the property’s landlord following an investigation by Yukon Justice department officials.

It’s the first served through the territory’s newly enacted and much heralded Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act.

The $340,000 legislation gives the territory power to shut down properties housing illegal activities, like bootlegging, drug dealing and prostitution.

The Justice department is not releasing the names of the tenants being evicted, or the nature of the controlled substance allegedly being produced, used or sold in the trailer.

Under the federal Controlled Drug and Substances Act, it could be anything from pot to amphetamines to cocaine.

The residence is located in the Kopper King neighbourhood — which includes the Kopper King Trailer Park and the 918.3 Trailer Park.

At least one nearby resident is applauding the expulsion.

“Get rid of those people,” said Huguette Pomerleau, while sitting at her trailer’s dining room table.

“They’re a bunch of dope pushers — guys and girls,” she said on Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t know the first thing about drugs, but I know there’s a lot of it.

“By the people that drive up and down this road and park their cars out front — I don’t imagine it’s roses they’re selling.”

She has lived in the trailer court for six years, and she is tired of watching the neighbourhood go to ruin.

“Here we don’t have too many little kids, but we do have teenagers and you have to watch them a little closer because teenagers will try anything.”

Pomerleau says teenaged girls mistakenly knock on her door late at night about once a week.

“I tell them I don’t know what they’re talking about,” she said.

And she says the cops come by at least once a day, but sometimes it’s more like eight or nine times.

Although Pomerleau is happy to see the alleged pushers turfed out of the neighbourhood, she knows that the eviction is not going to solve the underlying problems of drugs and poverty in Whitehorse.

“They’ve got five days to go and I’m really glad, but it’s not going to solve the problem ‘cause they’re just going to move to another section of town,” she said.

“I feel good because we’re getting this place clean, but I know they’re just going to move somewhere else.”

The SCAN legislation is a “civil remedy” for neighbourhood problems, said Yukon Justice spokesperson Dan Cable.

“All we’re concerned about with the safer communities legislation is to stop the activity.

“If you have a whole pile of visitors to your home everyday and it would appear things are being exchanged through your front door, it’s probably not trading matchbox stickers.”

SCAN is triggered when a neighbour makes a confidential complaint to Justice department investigators.

First the investigators do background checks on the property and share information with RCMP.

Then, armed with surveillance cameras and drop cars, investigators stake out the property to see if the illegal activities are habitual and if they’re adversely affecting one or more persons in the community.

Because it is a civil legislation, investigators only need to prove the illegal activity is probably happening.

This is a different standard than that needed for a criminal offence, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Next, the department approaches the landowner to try and resolve the problem informally.

If that fails, the government can apply for a community safety order to shut down the property, terminate the lease or evict the offenders.

In this case, Justice department officials approached the landlord, who worked with them to serve the eviction notice.

With the notice, the tenants were also given a package with information on social support services available in the territory.

“We can’t force people to accept programming, but what we can do is say that these are the various government services available to everyone,” said Cable.

In its current form the package consists of a single sheet of paper that lists two items: social assistance and alcohol and drug services.

“I understand that a much more detailed package of information will be given in future and is already being developed and will be ready within a few days,” said Cable on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Pomerleau is applauding an act that can evict dealers from her neighbourhood.

She says she knows of other drug houses in the neighbourhood and in the city.

“We’re going to get them evicted one by one,” said Pomerleau.