RCMP on scene of the Herbal Green Apothecary in Okanagan Falls on Wednesday. Tara Bowie/Western News

Court documents reveal South Okanagan cannabis dispensary probe

Police reportedly stopped 2 people at 2 different shops over 2 days in March prior to investigation

Police appear to have been watching South Okanagan cannabis dispensaries in March, as court documents note two seizures of pot in as many days as customers left a pair of dispensaries.

According to an information to obtain (ITO), a document filed with the courts to gain a search warrant, RCMP stopped two individuals leaving dispensaries on March 19 and 20.

The ITO was filed by Const. Ryan Shedden and a search warrant granted on May 30, the day police raided the Herbal Green Apothecary in Okanagan Falls. None of the allegations in the ITO have been proven in court, and court records show Laurio does not currently face any charges on the matter.

Related: RCMP raids Okanagan Falls dispensary

On the first day, Const. Fahlman with the RCMP’s South Okanagan Traffic Services stopped a woman who left Herbal Green and seized a cardboard box containing an eighth of an ounce of cannabis. She reportedly told Fahlman she did not have a prescription or licence to possess.

The following day, Fahlman reported to stopping a man who had left Green Essence, a dispensary in Penticton that ceased cannabis sales this week.

Fahlman reported having smelled cannabis in the vehicle the man was driving and arrested him for possession of a controlled substance. A sealed box with “Herbal Green Apothecary” on the seals was found to contain 22 grams, Fahlman wrote in his police report, quoted in the ITO.

Penticton RCMP spokesperson Const. James Grandy could not confirm whether or not there had been a concerted effort in the force to observe dispensaries at that time in March.

Related: Penticton RCMP tells dispensary Green Essence to stop selling pot

However, if Green Essence had been under observation at the time, police do not appear to be pursuing legal action, having given operators of the shop a warning on Monday this week, leading to the closure of its dispensary. Grandy said he was “not sure that the OK Falls store did not receive any warning.”

Penticton RCMP’s Targeted Enforcement Unit began its investigation into Herbal Green about two months later, on May 25, just five days prior to the execution of the search warrant.

On May 28, TEU officers surveilled the store on Main Street in Okanagan Falls, and at two points, both around noon, officers stopped people leaving the store. First, police said they seized two cardboard boxes containing a combined quarter-ounce of pot.

That was followed shortly by two women who were reportedly found to have had two syringes of CBD oil and THC oil, both active components of cannabis. Police wrote in the ITO that they also seized five capsules of THC, which the women said they bought at Herbal Green.

The following day, police reportedly entered the store wearing clearly marked police vests and spoke to Laurio, who allegedly admitted he had no licence to sell or grow cannabis and that he had 50 pounds of the substance on site.

In fact, police seized around 100 pounds of cannabis and edibles. Police also documented seizure of containers of vaporizer refills and THC-infused honey, balms and creams, perfume, membership cards, a receipt book, $770, a scale, a security hard drive, billing correspondence from FortisBC and a stun baton.

Sheddon wrote that he suspected a search would also turn up banking documents, which he anticipated would “show that sales are being made daily, and that Laurio is profiting from these sales.”

According to the ITO, Laurio is listed as “charged” in three files, “complainant” in 14 files, “subject of complainant” in 11 files (two for trafficking), “suspect” in seven files (all for trafficking) and “suspect chargeable” for three files (all for trafficking).

His criminal record includes 10 convictions — three for possession of a narcotic and one for trafficking in narcotics in the 1970s; one for cultivation of narcotic in 1997, one for sexual assault and in 2004 he had one each for trafficking in scheduled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man pulls out gun at Keremeos gas station

RCMP arrested an Olalla man around 10 a.m. Sunday after he pulled a gun earlier that morning.

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Godsmack and Volbeat coming to Penticton

Tour includes a stop at the South Okanagan Events Centre

Sagmoen back in Vernon court this week

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Protesters take to Highway 1 over migration issues

Five people protested Canada’s plans to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Most Read