Eight people have been arrested on drug trafficking charges following a months-long investigation in the Courtenay area.
The Comox Valley RCMP say they launched the investigation in February after Mounties received a significant number of reports from residents and neighbouring businesses of the 600-block of Cliffe Avenue.
Investigators with the Comox Valley RCMP’s bike unit and street crimes unit then collaborated to target drug trafficking operations in the downtown Courtenay area.
The nearly year-long investigation culminated this winter, when Mounties arrested eight people for drug trafficking, many of whom are accused of selling fentanyl.
On Thursday, Comox Valley RCMP spokesperson Monika Terragni said all eight suspects were arrested “within the last few weeks.”
A list of the suspects, all of whom are from Courtenay, and the charges they are facing can be found below:
- Aislynn Hessler, 24, one count of trafficking fentanyl and bromazolam
- Andrew Labree, 36, one count of trafficking meth
- Denyss Teagai, 31, one count of trafficking fentanyl and bromazolam
- Frank Poel, 66, two counts of trafficking fentanyl and bromazolam
- David Nakashima, 28, one count of trafficking cocaine, and one count of trafficking fentanyl and bromazolam
- Sterling Girard, 28, two counts of trafficking fentanyl and bromazolam, and one count of trafficking meth
- Adam Wilkins, 37, one count of trafficking fentanyl and para-flourofentanyl
- Timothy Hyatt, 22, two counts of trafficking meth, and one count of trafficking fentanyl, para-flourofentanyl and bromazolam
“The proactive efforts of the Comox Valley RCMP and community are crucial to combatting the fentanyl epidemic that has plagued our community,” said Terragni.
“These arrests signify our commitment to public safety and our stance against those who choose to exploit vulnerable populations,” she said.
The Comox Valley RCMP adds that fentanyl has been found in 83 per cent of overdose deaths in the province in the first nine months of 2023, according to the BC Coroners Service.
None of the allegations against the eight suspects have been proven in court.