The sort of youth-driven mayhem that was typical of May long weekends of the past returned to Whistler Village in 2010.
At least one knife-related incident, a major drug trafficking arrest, a number of other drug-related incidents and several fights, some of them possibly gang-related, were just some of the incidents that kept the beefed-up law enforcement team busy Friday through Monday (May 21 to 24).
A few years ago, law enforcement officials and Whistler businesses came together to hash out a strategy for curbing the sort of Victoria Day weekend mayhem that had become all too common in Whistler. The result was that the past two May long weekends featured a much lower level of rowdy, unlawful behaviour.
RCMP Sgt. Shawn LeMay on Tuesday (May 25) said the mayhem appears to have returned, and that stepped-up enforcement and the cooperation of local businesses probably helped prevent serious injuries.
"I don't know if this was the worst, but it was certainly busy," he said. "There were some facial injuries - cuts and bruises - among people who got punched."
And the mayhem wasn't merely a nighttime occurrence. During the day on Saturday, rowdy young adults yelled profanities from the windows and balconies of Village hotels and elsewhere, in some cases when families with young children were present, LeMay said.
"We made a number of arrests and advised (the perpetrators) that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated in our municipality," he said.
Stepped-up police presence in the resort included members of the Lower Mainland Integrated Gang Task Force and the Integrated Road Safety Unit. LeMay said the gang unit was kept busy monitoring the activities of at least a few known members of organized gangs from the Greater Vancouver area.
The stepped-up police presence, as well as the cooperation of staff at hotels, bars and nightclubs, probably helped prevent serious injuries, he said.
The weekend statistics included more than 80 tickets for open liquor, more than 20 prisoners lodged in cells for public drunkenness and other infractions, 34 traffic violations, and at least 10 police-assisted hotel evictions.
In one such incident, police evicted two groups of young people who appeared ready to fight each other in the hotel. The groups vowed to settle their differences elsewhere, LeMay said.
"We strongly believe that the resources we brought in, and our plan for the May long weekend, were very effective," he said. "Yes, we were busy, but it helped that we had the support of hotels. If we went to them and said, 'They're gone,' they were very supportive."
Drug trafficking arrests made
Police on Saturday (May 22) executed a search warrant at a unit of a complex on Northlands Boulevard and arrested 12 people in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged drug trafficking from the unit and "other locations nearby."
The unit's residents were among those arrested, and one man who was arrested as he tried to flee from police was found to have drugs in his possession, LeMay said.
Police seized a "sizeable bag" of marijuana as well multiple grams of cocaine, and a variety of other chemical drugs that police were believe were being sold as ecstasy. All of the seized substances were taken to a lab for examination, LeMay said.
Two people -a 22-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man - face charges of possession of controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking. The two are set to appear in North Vancouver Provincial Court on June 16.
The investigation is ongoing, and more charges and perhaps other arrests are expected, LeMay said.
"These arrests are part of our detachment's ongoing strategy, along with the support of the local community, as we work at enhancing our drug enforcement activities in a continuous effort to make Whistler a safe and drug-free community," he said.
In a separate incident on Friday (May 22), police arrested a 22-year-old Surrey male who allegedly was selling drugs from his vehicle as it was parked in the Marketplace lot. An amount of cocaine and some cash was seized, and he faces a charge of trafficking in a controlled substance.
On Sunday (May 23), police arrested two males on suspicion of drug trafficking and found one, a youth from Burnaby, in possession of several baggies containing different types of drugs. He faces a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Knife-wielding man arrested
A 22-year-old man from Surrey faces a charge of possession of a dangerous weapon after police allegedly saw him brandishing a large jackknife during an altercation between two groups of males in Whistler Village.
The incident occurred on Saturday at around 4:30 p.m. Police on foot patrol came upon two groups of males just after an altercation between the groups, and found one man brandishing a knife, LeMay said.
He was arrested and was release on conditions, including one that he not return to Whistler. He faces a June 16 date in North Vancouver Provincial Court.
Marijuana charge likely
On Sunday, police responding to a report of a fight at a local hotel spoke to an 18-year-old male from Coquitlam who said he was the victim of an assault. His speech was slurred and as police were arresting him for being drunk in a public place, they found approximately two grams of marijuana in his possession. He faces a charge for possession of a controlled substance.
Two face impaired charges
Two people face impaired driving charges as a result of two separate incidents in Whistler on the weekend.
On Saturday at around 3 a.m., a woman whose vehicle was stopped along Lorimer Road showed signs of impairment by alcohol. She failed a roadside screening, and then blew readings of .140 and .130 on a breathalyzer. The 27-year-old from North Vancouver was served with a 90-day driving prohibition and faces charges of impaired driving and driving over .08.
On Sunday, officers on foot patrol near Whistler Village noticed a vehicle being driven erratically. They contacted an officer in a police vehicle who located and pulled the vehicle over.
The driver, a 21-year-old woman from Abbotsford, failed a roadside screening, then blew two readings of .120. She faces charges of impaired driving and driving over .08.