Shambhala results in 84 new drug investigations, multiple impaired drivers
Kootenay RCMP Traffic Services have been extremely busy this week as more than 12,500 people leave Shambhala, according to Cpl. Chad Badry.
“Police have opened 84 illegal drug investigation files so far,” Badry said.
“The majority of the investigations involved multiple types of drugs. Drugs that are known so far before analysis include Cocaine, Psilocybin, MDMA/Ecstasy, Ketamine, Shatter, Lysergic Acid (LSD), GHB, Cannabis, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and Hashish.
“There was also a rise in the number of people using inhalents such as Nitrous Oxide. After analysis, police expect that some of the drugs seized will include the drug Fentanyl, the drug that was the subject of a recent Public Health Emergency declaration.”
Badry said this very quickly became a real concern for local traffic police.
“With road safety the primary objective of Traffic Services, more than 15 criminal impaired by drug drivers were removed from the road on Aug. 8 and 9,” Badry said.
“During the same time period, many other drivers were prohibited from driving for 24 hours under provincial legislation for drug impairment. Hundreds of traffic violation tickets were issued for a variety of offences, including defective vehicles and no seatbelts.
“Thankfully there have been no serious collisions in our area so far, but we had to work hard to make the roads safe. The RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Nelson Police put many extra resources on the road in response to the private Shambhala rave that took place Aug. 5 to 8.
At the same time, excessive speed became a significant issue on local highways, Badry said.
“Last week from Aug. 2 to 5, RCMP Traffic Services handed out 94 excessive speeding tickets which come with a mandatory seven-day vehicle impound. This is a marked increase from last year which saw 64 excessive speed tickets for the same week. The highest recorded speed was 188kph in a 100 kph zone.
“Excessive speed starts at 40 kph over the speed limit. Many of these speeds were reached while passing other vehicles. Targeted speed enforcement took place on Highway 3 to the West of Castlegar and to the East of Salmo. Fines for excessive speeding start at $368 with 3 demerit points. The owner of the vehicle is also responsible for any towing and impound fees.
“This is particularly troubling considering that last month in the same location a vehicle collided with an elk. On Thursday, a police officer missed a brown bear by about 12 inches that was sprinting across the road. The police officer with advanced driver training was traveling under the speed limit and took evasive action that enabled him to miss the bear.
“Drivers need to understand that the ability to react in a timely manner is significantly diminished the higher the speed and your attention is further divided while passing. If the vehicle in the front of you is driving the speed limit, there is no need to pass it and there are no laws in British Columbia that permit drivers to exceed the speed limit while passing.”