After a tip-off and a few days of investigation, police battered down the door of a Riverdale residence and found an arsenal of illegal weapons, drugs bagged for trafficking and more than $20,000 in cash.
“This is a case of a landlord renting a place and it turned into a crack shack,” Cpl. Blake Wawryk told reporters at a media briefing on Monday.
Wawryk heads the RCMP’s street crime reduction team.
He used the bust as an opportunity to put suspected dealers on notice.
“This means cocaine trafficking within the city of Whitehorse is a risky activity.
“No longer are you safe or do you have the comfort of dealing cocaine from your residence, the bars or the hotels.”
Early Saturday morning, the RCMP’s street crime reduction team executed a search warrant at 49 Sternwheeler, off of Lewes Boulevard in Riverdale.
After knocking down the door with a battering ram, police found an AK-47 military assault rifle, a machine pistol, a shotgun with a pistol grip and six hunting rifles and ammunition.
“Some of those weapons have one purpose: to harm and intimidate people.
“A machine pistol is a weapon of the drug trade — that’s what those weapons are for and they’re off the streets, but there’s more out there and we’ll get those too.”
Police also found more than $20,000 in cash, 14 eight-balls of crack cocaine, 31 rocks of cocaine, 50 pills believed to be ecstasy, a small amount of pot and paraphernalia used in measuring and weighing drugs.
The cocaine is from BC’s Lower Mainland and is connected to organized crime, said Wawryk.
Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Devellano, 35-year-old John Wayne Bourne, 24-year-old Jason Dennis Johnson, all of Whitehorse, and 29-year-old Kelly Ryan Auclair, of Surrey, BC, were arrested and charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
On Tuesday, Devellano was denied bail and, along with Bourne and Kelly Ryan Auclair, was facing 28 charges related to drug and firearm possession.
Bourne was also facing two additional charges of breaching probation.
Twenty-three-year-old Eli Stephen Auclair, of no fixed address, was arrested leaving the house earlier in the evening.
Police found 10 rocks of crack cocaine in his possession and charged him with possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Police also arrested Donna Lee MacFarlane, 36, who came by the house while police searched the premises.
She was wanted on an arrest warrant after breaching conditions after being convicted of possessing property obtained by crime in March 2007.
Will the charges stick?
“Our investigations are held to the highest accountability,” said Wawryk.
“We are evidence led, we consult with Crown counsel, we research our case law, we make sure that the things we do are completely within the bounds of the law and we continue to do that.”
Since April 2007, the team has charged 12 people for trafficking in Whitehorse and Watson Lake.
Such a large number of drug charges is unprecedented in the Yukon.
“Drug traffickers, we hear, are running scared,” said Wawryk.
“It’s a 24-7 business and we’re going to be there 24-7.”