RCMP seized a loaded .25 calibre handgun in Vernon during a joint investigation in December.

RCMP seized a loaded .25 calibre handgun in Vernon during a joint investigation in December.

Vernon RCMP release details of successful drug sting

One man arrested has significant gang ties according to police

RCMP are now releasing details of a successful late 2014 drug sting in Vernon which includes the arrest of a man with alleged significant gang ties.

In late November, the Vernon detachment’s targeted policing unit conducted a four-day drug investigation utilizing undercover operators to target drug traffickers in the community.

A total of 25 street-level quantity drug purchases of cocaine and methamphetamine were completed resulting in 21 persons to be facing charges of drug trafficking.

“This emphasizes the importance and impact of these operations as they significantly disrupt drug trafficking groups and, in many instances, result in lengthy jail terms for repeat offenders,” said Sgt. Dave Evans with the Vernon detachment.

It was during the undercover operation that investigators identified a drug trafficking group with ties to the Lower Mainland.

Drug purchases were made from at least five persons believed to be connected to this group.

Vernon officers joined forces with one of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) teams out of the Lower Mainland to investigate members of this group for both drug trafficking and firearms offences.

The investigation concluded on Dec. 19 with the execution of search warrants, seizure of drugs, cash and weapons.

CFSEU executed a search warrant at a Vernon hotel and seized a loaded .25 calibre handgun, $2,600 and other multiple edged weapons, resulting in one arrest.

In a release, CFSEU said Daniel Penton, 21, was allegedly in possession of a number of guns and running drug lines for the Unknown Soldiers gang in the Vernon area.

Penton, who police say has previously been convicted of being possession of a loaded gun with a silencer, was remanded in custody on one count of possession of a firearm knowing he was not holder of licence; one count of possessionof a loaded prohibited firearm without licence; and two counts of possession of firearm or ammunition while prohibited.

The South East District’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was utilized to execute search warrants at two units of a fourplex in the 3500 block of 24th Avenue.

The search of that location resulted in the seizure of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills, cash, drug trafficking paraphernalia, a zap cane and other weapons.

A zap cane resembles a cane that has the potential to be a conductive energy weapon.

One man was arrested and face charges in connection with the search at the fourplex.

Andres Naranjo, 21, from Vernon, is facing charges of trafficking cocaine (resulting from the undercover operation) and possession of cocaine and heroin for the purpose of trafficking (resulting from search warrant).

Both Naranjo and Penton are originally from the Lower Mainland. Naranjo is believed to be an associate of Penton.

“The arrest of Daniel Penton will significantly diminish the level of violence and drug trafficking that occurs in the Vernon area,” said Sgt. Lindsay Houghton of CFSEU.

“Getting Penton, a dangerous offender who has a previous gun-related conviction, off the streets highlights the level of cooperation and coordination between CFSEU and Vernon RCMP to obtain successful results in two investigations.”

Added Sgt. Evans: “The combined efforts of the Vernon detachment, CFSEU and ERT has resulted in a very successful investigation of a potentially dangerous drug trafficking group.

“Successfully targeting this drug trafficking group was a high priority for our unit.”