Potentially violent grow-rip thwarted in Langford

Police arrested three men armed with handguns and body armour who tried to rob a medical marijuana grow-op in Langford on Tuesday.

Police arrested three men armed with handguns and body armour who tried to rob a medical marijuana grow-op in Langford on Tuesday.

West Shore RCMP and officers from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CSFU-BC) had the men under surveillance, and watched them enter and leave the undisclosed Langford property in semi-rural residential neighbourhood.

Uniformed RCMP officers stopped the vehicle and arrested the suspects. Officers found the ultimate grow-rip kit: body armour, a Browning 9 mm Luger, a Smith and Wesson revolver, a sledgehammer, duct tape and masks.

Police say the property holds a heavily-fortified outbuilding and house that is the location of a licenced medical marijuana growing operation. No residents were home at the time of the attempted robbery. CFSU-BC spokesperson Sgt. Bill Whalen said the suspects came away from the property empty handed.

In the past two weeks, West Shore RCMP and the Victoria branch of CFSU-BC have joined forces due to a number of recent, violent home invasions that targeted at people in the drug trade on the West Shore. Whalen wouldn’t say how these suspects were located and targeted, other than “information on individuals involved in violent home invasions was uncovered.”

West Shore RCMP Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said investigators are seeing if the three suspects have any connection to the recent home invasion in Colwood. Two men forced their way into an apartment at 1 a.m. on April 19 and robbed two people in a home invasion that police say targeted the wrong home.

In March, a known drug trafficker in an apartment on Peatt Road was tied up and robbed, and isn’t co-operating with police.

So far, the three men only face charges related to the April 24 incident.

“For us, anybody carrying this equipment – body armour, hand guns, duct tape and masks are obviously up to no good,” Rochlitz said. “We are happy to get them into custody before anyone was harmed.”

The CFSEU-BC works with law enforcement agencies across the province and targets people engaged in a violent lifestyle and in organized crime. Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and the RCMP contribute members to the Victoria unit.

Justin James Upton, Cody Fred Smith, 20, and Jake Cappello, 19, are all charged with using a firearm during a robbery, break and enter to commit an indictable offence and two counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Upton and Cappello are also each charged with wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence, while Smith is facing additional charges of resisting arrest and using a false name.

All three remain in custody. Smith and Cappello are scheduled for a bail hearing on April 30 at Western Communities Courthouse and Upton on May 3.

Of the three, only Upton has an extensive criminal record, mainly for offenses in Campbell River.

He last appeared in Campbell River provincial court on June 30, 2009, on charges of failing to attend court and resisting arrest.

At the time of his arrest, he was on bail for similar convictions, along with using a stolen credit card in December 2008. And in 2007, in Surrey, Upton received 18 months probation for possession of stolen property.

His court appearance in February 2009 was notable when Judge William Jack tried to impart Jedi wisdom on Upton, who was then 23 years old.

“Don’t try, just do,” said Judge Jack, now retired, doing his best impression of Yoda from the Star Wars films.

–with files from the Campbell River Mirror

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

This dead fir tree is one of many in Mount Douglas Park. Nine dead trees will be removed from the Douglas Creek site starting March 8 to make way for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge. (Photo courtesy Jason Clarke)
Nine dead, hazardous trees to be removed from Saanich park ahead of bridge construction

Felling begins March 8, minor trail interruptions expected in Mount Douglas Park

Victoria Shamrocks announced on March 2 that Mike Simpson will be taking over as head coach. (Photo courtesy of the Victoria Shamrocks)
Victoria Shamrocks name new head coach ahead of 2021 season

Mike Simpson has been promoted from offensive coach to the team’s bench boss

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

This photo of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin and her daughter, Lexi, is part of Townsin’s documentary, RARE HUMANS - Turning Hope into Action, her capstone project for her graduate degree from Royal Roads University. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl-Lynn Townsin)
Greater Victoria mother’s grief fuels documentary of ‘Turning Hope into Action’

Lexi, 6, died in 2019 from Blau Syndrome and is among the children documented

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read