UPDATE: The Chad Smoke Shop owner, Prince Rupert mayor comment on police seizure
The Chad Smoke Shop owner and CEO Chad Wentworth said the Prince Rupert location was shut down effective Monday, with RCMP saying they would try to have the business license revoked, and the result was three people losing their jobs.
“They took 80 per cent of our inventory and are telling us we can't try to get it back for 90 days, and after 90 days they could keep it for up to a year ... We can't put inventory back in the story and you can't run a business without inventory,” he said, noting this is the first time he has had to shut down a store.
“I imagine it is a local thing, I think we had people who didn't want us there. When you have people high up who don't want you it can be tough. But there's no hard feelings, I don't want to be somewhere we're not wanted.”
However, Wentworth said he enjoyed being in the community and would return if the RCMP and the city allowed them to re-open.
“I was sorry to leave. I left on Monday with the rest of the inventory and a tear in my eye. I didn't want to go,” he said.
Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem said that while a City of Prince Rupert business license entails trust that the business is operating within federal and provincial laws, council will wait to hear from the RCMP before taking any action.
“The RCMP enforce a different set of laws than the city, and if there are any recommendations coming from the RCMP the city would consider them,” he said.
Thousands of pipes, bongs and grinders were seized after a search warrant was executed at The Chad Smoke Shop on the 600 block of 2nd Avenue West in Prince Rupert.
Const. Matt Ericson said officers entered the store at one p.m. on June 8 following a six month investigation into the business. Section 462.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which states “every one who knowingly imports into Canada, exports from Canada, manufactures, promotes or sells instruments or literature for illicit drug use is guilty of an offence”.
“This is an investigation the RCMP decided to take on ... these type of investigations are long in process and there is a lot of information to obtain before applying for and obtaining a search warrant,” he said.
A person from Alberta has been identified as the owner of the business and may be facing criminal charges.
There are other places in town where pipes can be purchased, and Ericson said the RCMP may be taking a closer look at that.
“At this time we are focusing on this investigation. In terms of other businesses, there are concerns about this type of thing being sold in town and we certainly want to hear about it.”
Currently there are 19 Chad Smoke Shop locations across the country, including four in B.C., 14 in Alberta and one in Newfoundland.
As this investigation is ongoing, the Prince Rupert RCMP is asking anyone that may have information regarding this incident to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP Detachment at 250-627-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).