There’s no law saying you can’t walk around with two pet rats in your pockets.
But if you’re also allegedly carrying a bit of cocaine and a prohibited weapon, well, that will get you arrested.
That’s what happened to Damon Galye in the early morning hours of March 21 when a patrolling police officer spotted a man walking down the middle of 7th Avenue.
It was about 3:40 a.m. when the Mountie stopped Galye, who is known to authorities. The Campbell River man has a two-page criminal record and was on a probation order when he was questioned by the officer.
Galye was carrying two live pet rats in his pockets. It is also alleged that Galye was found with .1 gram of a substance that appeared to be cocaine, one beer and a working flashlight/stun gun.
He was arrested for breaching terms of his 18-month probation order and later released from custody, but police were still keeping a close eye on him due to a tip they received.
On March 5, an informant told Mounties that a man named Damon and his girlfriend were selling “down” – a euphemism for heroin – through a dial-a-dope operation. The tipster also provided police with a phone number.
On April 16, at 6:50 p.m., a plain clothes officer in an unmarked police cruiser observed a white Pontiac with Ontario licence plates on 2nd Avenue. The car looped around the block and left a residence that is known to police.
Naturally suspicious, the officer followed the car, called in the plates and found out the vehicle was uninsured. The Mountie continued to trail the vehicle which pulled over to the roadside where Galye was waiting.
Galye got into the car which then proceeded towards 7th Avenue. Believing a drug deal was taking place, the officer followed the suspects into the Jolly Giant convenience store and saw Galye clutching a handful of bills.
Galye threw something onto the ground and after a very brief struggle, was arrested. The officer recovered about $200, found another $800 in Galye’s possession, and also picked up a baggie containing three “spitballs” with small amounts of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine.
The driver of the vehicle was also arrested and told the officer he had intended to buy $100 worth of heroin and another $100 of cocaine. The driver’s infant son was also in the car when the bust occurred.
A cell phone was also recovered and the number matched the number that was provided by the police informant.
Galye has been in custody since then in Victoria. On Monday, he appeared by video in Campbell River provincial court for a bail hearing.
Both the provincial and federal Crown prosecutors asked the judge to detain him based on his previous criminal record and due to his arrests while on probation.
However, defence lawyer James Hormoth outlined a plan that led to Galye’s release. According to Hormoth and Galye’s mother, he realizes he has a drug problem and wants to seek meaningful help.
Judge Ron Lamperson agreed to release Galye, but on strict conditions which includes a $2,000 surety.
Galye will reside with his mother and is under house arrest. He’s able to see his probation officer, lawyer, his drug and alcohol counsellor, and to attend Narcotics’ Anonymous meetings. As well, when a bed opens, Galye will enter a 90-day drug rehabilitation program.
“I may be going out on a limb, but I’ll give him one chance,” the judge said.
Galye is due back in court on June 16 to set trial dates.