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Cocaine, stolen rifle seized in bust

Sunshine Coast RCMP arrested three women and two men in a cocaine bust at a Wilson Creek residence July 3.

Sunshine Coast RCMP arrested three women and two men in a cocaine bust at a Wilson Creek residence July 3.

Three of the residents, 27-year-old Daneil Johnson, his girlfriend Shaundra Polson and another friend, Tawny Pothier, have been charged with drug and weapons offences. Police plan to recommend charges against three other people as well, two men and a woman who have not yet been named.

Johnson is also facing several other charges for earlier incidents. Last December he was arrested, together with Dusty Dickeson, after shots were fired, allegedly from a sawed-off shotgun, in downtown Sechelt. Johnson was charged with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and Dickeson was charged with assault with a weapon as well as six other crimes. Neither man has gone to trial yet on those charges.

Johnson was arrested again June 30 when he was driving on Fawn Road in Halfmoon Bay. Police said they seized 22 pieces of crack cocaine from Johnson and eight half-gram packages of cocaine from his passenger, Darren Johnson. The two men are not related.

The cocaine bust in Wilson Creek three days later happened during an RCMP curfew check. Daneil Johnson's bail requires him to obey a curfew, and Constables Andy Cook and Bryson Hill were checking that he was at home when they noticed a strong smell of marijuana and saw a used plastic baggie on the kitchen table and a foot-high bong on top of the refrigerator.

Cook said the smell of marijuana provided grounds for investigation, so he and Hill handcuffed Johnson and removed three other people, including Polson and Pothier, from the house. One man was found hiding under the deck outside.

During a later search, police seized 63 half-gram pieces of crack cocaine, packaged as if for sale, and about a quarter-ounce bag of powdered cocaine found in the closet of a bedroom. That bedroom contained Johnson's and Polson's belongings, including a video camera mounted at the foot of the bed and hooked up to a television.

Police found a stolen .30-30 calibre, lever-action rifle under the bed in what was allegedly Pothier's bedroom. The rifle was stolen during a local break-and-enter, according to Crown prosecutor Dan Fairweather.

At a bail hearing in Sechelt provincial court July 6, Johnson was released on $2,000 cash bail, under conditions he live with his mother on Inlet Avenue in Sechelt, not possess cell phones or pagers and obey a curfew. Defense lawyer Darcy Lawrence argued the search of the house was not lawful and accused police of misusing their authority. But Judge William Rodgers said that issue should be decided during a trial.

Cook described the Wilson Creek bust as a "mid-level" crack dealership.

"It's a fairly substantial quantity of crack cocaine," said Cook. "But we are aware there are people [on the Sunshine Coast] with up to a kilo of cocaine, perhaps more than that."

This was the second police incident this year where a gun was seized at 4373 Wilson Road. In February, police arrested a resident of that house, Fay Cornish, and seized an eight-chamber revolver containing five live .22-calibre bullets and two spent shells. In that incident, police said they responded to complaints of gunfire and screams and found a woman screaming hysterically, smashing a window and holding a pistol. Cornish is charged with possessing a loaded, restricted firearm, pointing a firearm at a police officer, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and mischief. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 10.

Cook said there was no obvious connection between Cornish's gun-firing incident and the recent cocaine bust.

"I think it's just an unfortunate coincidence," said Cook.

He added that he has learned the landlord of the house has paid the present tenants to move out early, and "there shouldn't be any issue there within a month."