Drug activist arrested for storefront enterprise
'Pot shop' operated for at least a week
A 59-year-old marijuana activist is facing several drug charges for allegedly selling marijuana, LSD and other drugs out of a storefront in Mount Pleasant.
Klaus Kaczor, who calls himself Bud the Oracle, operated his "pot shop" for at least seven days at 564 East Broadway before police arrested him Feb. 17.
One of Kaczor's repeat customers claimed to be a security worker at B.C. Place for the 2010 Winter Games. The audio portion of a $5 marijuana joint transaction between the customer and Kaczor was recorded by Kaczor himself. He recorded it on a video camera that he left running when the customer entered his store. The customer promised to return to buy "bigger amounts."
Kaczor posted the video on YouTube and embedded it on his blog, which is filled with more video and commentary about his marijuana crusades. Prior to his arrest, Kaczor had a webcam trained on his customers and linked a live feed of the transactions to his blog.
The customer who bought the joint told Kaczor that his job at B.C. Place was to screen spectators entering the venue with a wand, or metal detector. B.C. Place is the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.
During the opening ceremony, a mentally ill man slipped by security and got within 12 rows of U.S. vice-president Joe Biden before police intercepted the man.
Const. Lindsey Houghton of the Vancouver Police Department said the audio recording of the transaction was forwarded to the 2010 Integrated Security Unit.
Police arrested Kaczor after receiving complaints from residents and neighbouring business operators about the drug operation.
"From talking to investigators, they can't recall anything quite this blatant and frankly kind of off-the-wall as this," Houghton said.
Police seized "thousands of dollars worth" of drugs including marijuana, LSD, hashish and MDMA.
The drugs and their prices were listed on a "menu" inside the store, which operated from noon to 8 p.m. MDMA was advertised for $6 a dose, or four doses for $20.
Drugs were sold behind the equivalent of a takeout window. Kaczor upgraded the space to include the window and a metal gate to a back room, according to the building's manager, who declined to reveal his name. The manager said Kaczor told him he wanted to rent the space for a religious society. Kaczor said recently at a Vancouver Police Board meeting that he was the "chief justice" of the "Unincorporated Deuteronomical Society."
The manager said when he discovered the space was used to sell drugs, he asked Kaczor to leave. Kaczor began leasing the space Feb.1 and is believed to have opened for business Feb. 10.
"I obviously don't feel good about it," the manager said of being duped.
Bill Grulkey, who operates a picture and framing store next door, said the drug operation should have been busted a lot sooner.
Grulkey said he contacted Collingwood community policing centre and was told police were busy with the Olympics. He then contacted the city's licence and permits department and was told they wouldn't visit the operation without a police escort.
Houghton said police responded after receiving a 911 call about the drug operation.
"We would encourage people to phone 911 because we do have a full complement of patrol officers out there--just like we did before the Olympics," Houghton said. "We had a lot of resources we were able to devote to it once our officers found out about it."
Nonetheless, Grulkey said he and neighbouring business operators are glad the illegal business is gone.
"He lied to the landlord, he didn't have a business licence and everything he was selling was illegal," Grulkey said. "I don't want this kind of crap in my neighbourhood."
As of Monday, Kaczor remained in jail and is scheduled to make a court appearance Feb. 26.
Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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