The Osoyoos neighbours of a man now behind bars in the South Pacific said his situation comes as no surprise.
Gary Yuzik, who is imprisoned along with Bob and Cindy Stanley of Keremeos, following a $70-million cocaine bust, kept to himself, changed jobs and was even involved in a drug bust at his own home.
“He moved in with his family, wife and children, about seven years ago. I didn’t have much to do with him, just saw him coming and going,” said Terry Dalziel.
“Then there was a bust at the house, maybe two years ago. We think it was for cultivating pot, but he was never charged.”
The bust did not shock Dalziel, because he knew there was an unusual concrete room below the garage that he was told would be used by the guys for playing pool.
Dalziel believes Yuzik worked for a time in the funeral parlor business and then became a realtor, working in Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Keremeos.
He bought the RE/MAX office in Keremeos, which later burned down. The cause of the fire was never determined.
Following Yuzik’s brush with the law, he drop out of sight.
“He and his wife seemed to split and the rumour was he went south to Chile, supposedly to start a subdivision,” said Dalziel.
Other neighbors said he was not big on socializing with them.
His wife Evelyn, would only say she was separated from Yuzik and did not want to comment, when she arrived at the family home on Tuesday.
The news came as more of a shock to people in Keremeos.
Family members of Bob and Cindy Stanley, who have strong ties to the community, declined to comment. But a couple who said they were taking care of the home of Bob Stanley’s parents said the family was devastated by the news .
“They are very nice people, well known around town,” said the woman driver as she drove up to the home.
Laurie Taylor, chief administrative officer for the Village of Keremeos, said Stanley was employed there from December of 1989 to April of 2010 when he went on long term disability. The Village has had no contact with him since that date. At the time he went on disability, he was the public works foreman, a position he held since January 2006.
Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer said there were never any signs of wrongdoing during his employment.
“It’s a surprise when your public works foreman turns out to be allegedly involved in that kind of drug dealing,” he said.
The three were arrested by Australian federal police in March off the coast of New Caledonia. Authorities say they seized about 200 kilograms of cocaine from their boat after tracking it on an erratic voyage from South America.
It has all resulted in a lot of speculation and gossip in the small town of Keremeos.
An employee at the K-Café, who did not wish to be named, said,“It’s all very mysterious, not the kind of thing we are used to.”
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