Vancouver – The Vancouver Police Department has executed multiple search warrants as part of an ongoing investigation into the operations of the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF), a Vancouver-based organization that has publicly admitted to trafficking controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines.
“We understand the magnitude of the ongoing overdose crisis and the impact drug toxicity deaths have in communities throughout the province,” says Inspector Phil Heard, commanding officer of VPD’s Organized Crime Section. “While DULF’s actions were intended to reduce the harms caused by toxic drugs, we have always warned that anyone who violates the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act could face enforcement and criminal charges. This group has knowingly operated illegally in the Downtown Eastside and we have now taken action to stop it.”
In addition to searching DULF’s office, located at East Hastings and Columbia Street, VPD investigators also executed search warrants at two East Vancouver homes linked to the investigation. Two adults were arrested and VPD will consider criminal charges when the investigation is complete.
The Vancouver Police Department has worked collaboratively with health and community partners for decades to support innovative approaches to drug policy. In 2003, VPD supported the launch of Insite – the first supervised injection site in North America. In 2006, VPD became the first Canadian police agency to stop routinely attending overdose calls, in recognition that automatic police attendance could be a barrier to people calling 9-1-1 in medical emergencies. Further, the VPD was a leading police advocate for prescribed safe supply of substances to combat the harms associated with the toxic illicit drug supply, as well as a leading advocate for the decriminalization of drugs for personal consumption in B.C.
“While we support progressive drug policy and believe harm reduction strategies reduce the number of lives lost due to drug toxicity, we are steadfast in our insistence that all strategies be fully compliant with the law,” adds Inspector Heard. “Anyone who ignores the law or fails to obtain proper legal exemptions should expect to be the subject of enforcement action.”