Police arrest man for opening store selling hard drugs in Canada

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Police arrest man for opening store selling hard drugs in Canada

A Canadian man has been arrested in British Columbia for opening a mobile shop to sell cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs.

Jerry Martin, 51, has said he plans to challenge his arrest in court, arguing contaminated drug supplies cause harm.

Vancouver police said it arrested a man for “drug trafficking in connection with an illicit drug dispensary” but have not laid formal charges.

The arrest on Thursday came one day after Mr Martin opened his shop.

He began selling the drugs on Wednesday out of a mobile trailer parked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood with a high rate of drug use and concentrated drug overdose prevention services.

Mr Martin, whose brother died from an overdose, has said he had planned to open his store after Health Canada decriminalised the possession of small quantities of hard drugs in the province of British Columbia (BC) early this year as part of a three-year pilot project.

The public health measure was put forward in response to a growing number of overdose deaths from fentanyl-laced drugs in western Canada.

In 2022, more than 2,720 people died from an overdose in BC – an average of seven people a day.

BC has the second-highest rate of overdose deaths in Canada.

Mr Martin told local news outlets that he planned to sell batches of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and crack in small quantities, up to 2.5 grams, in an attempt to prevent further deaths. He said the drugs had been tested to ensure they did not contain fentanyl.