Vince Sharpe’s curiosity and sense of duty helped foil a presumed drug dealer in town.
The town councillor had been at the Nova Inn Monday, Nov. 6, after his polar bear skin had been stolen during the night. He was also doing some work in the building to help set it up for a new restaurant coming in the future.
At that time, he became aware of a suspected drug dealer staying in the Nova who had left a mysterious box on a coffee table in the lobby.
“He got up and he just walked out the door and left the box behind,” said Sharpe about the scene.
Sharpe and another witness examined the box, finding pill bottles inside. Sharpe opened one of them, spilling its contents on the table.
“It was all little packages done up with cellophane wrap of crack cocaine,” said Sharpe, adding that there were 30 packages in one vial and 15 vials in total.
The other witness was afraid to phone the police due to fear of retribution from the box’s owner or his network, but Sharpe didn’t hesitate.
“Why do I have to be scared?” Sharpe asked rhetorically. “If you run around all your life being afraid of something, you’re never going to have a life, are you?”
When the RCMP came to the Nova and found the contents of the box, they left two plainclothes officers in the lobby waiting for the box’s owner to return, according to a witness. The hotel received a phone call suggesting it give up the box, according to a source.
In the afternoon, the Drum's reporter, who was also waiting in the lobby, witnessed a man come to the hotel’s reception and claim his friend had left early for work and he needed to pay for his room and get his belongings. The hotel allowed him to do so. Once he left, so did the plainclothes RCMP.
The RCMP issued a news release following the incident. As of press time, no arrest had been made.
Sharpe said the drug problem in Inuvik is large.
“It’s not a small issue and (someone) needs to get a hold of it,” he said. “As a town councillor, I consider that my duty, to try and protect the community. To me, Inuvik comes first and nothing else.”
A witness to the scene expressed dismay to the Drum that the RCMP can’t seem to catch these drug dealers when everyone in town knows who they are.
“They have to have evidence,” said Sharpe, defending the RCMP. “They can’t just on a suspicion walk into somebody’s house and search it. They have to have evidence that person’s dealing drugs, and that’s the hard part for them.”
Sharpe encourages citizens to make use of CrimeStoppers and phone the RCMP if they encounter suspicious activity.
“Everyday citizens just like me, they can just call the RCMP if they find a problem,” said Sharpe. “I found a problem and I reported it. I would do it again too.”