It has been an eventful year here at ALERT, so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the biggest headlines we had in 2017 …
September 2017 — An ALERT investigation in Grande Prairie resulted in a significant seizure of fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. Nearly $250,000 worth of drugs were taken off the street, making this one of the city’s largest drug seizures ever. Four homes were searched and investigators seized: 1.3 kilograms of powder and crack cocaine; 573 grams of methamphetamine; 1,476 fentanyl pills; approximately 20 grams of marijuana; a Mercedes-Benz SUV; and nearly $2,000 in cash proceeds of crime.
February 2017 — Members of the Tribal and Syndicate outlaw motorcycle groups were arrested in Fort McMurray following an ALERT drug trafficking investigation. Tribal and Syndicate are support clubs for the Hells Angels. ALERT Fort McMurray’s organized crime and gang team made the arrests with the assistance of Wood Buffalo RCMP. Two homes were searched and police seized: a loaded 9mm handgun with the serial number removed; 40 rounds of ammunition; 40 grams of cocaine; 10 grams of psilocybin mushrooms; and several Tribal vests, or “cuts.”
June 2017 — An Alberta father was arrested by ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit for alleged sexual offences committed against three of his daughters. The alleged offences include incest, procurement for sex, and child pornography charges. The ICE Unit arrested the 41-year-old man in November 2016 in a small Alberta town west of Edmonton. Between the time of the arrest and the announcement in June 2017, the ICE investigation continued and additional charges were laid.
June 2017 — A Cardston, Alta. gun store was searched by ALERT following an investigation into firearms trafficking. The entire store’s firearms inventory of 1,000 guns and one million rounds of ammunition was seized. ALERT Lethbridge’s organized crime and gang team and the RCMP National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) conducted a five-month investigation into K&D Implements, which resulted in a search warrant being executed on May 29, 2017. K&D Implements was searched with the assistance of Cardston RCMP and Lethbridge Police Service, and two of the store’s owners were arrested. ALERT alleges that K&D Implements was selling firearms and ammunition illegally. The store owners are accused of failing to ensure that firearms purchasers provided valid Possession Acquisition Licenses (PAL), hence constituting the charge of firearms trafficking.
March 2017 — An ALERT investigation into the southeastern Alberta methamphetamine market resulted in the seizure of a large amount of drugs, cash, a loaded handgun, and $450,000 worth of stolen property. The results came as part of a joint investigation between ALERT Medicine Hat’s organized crime team, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP Gleichen. The investigation began in December 2016 and concluded with six search warrants and nine arrests taking place on February 25, 2017. The search warrants took place at four homes in Strathmore, one in Wheatland County, and at a business in Gleichen with assistance from RCMP Emergency Response Team and RCMP Strathmore. A total of $75,000 in drugs and cash was seized along with an extensive amount of stolen property, including: five pickup trucks; two utility trailers; two recreational vehicles; a flat deck trailer; a skid steer loader; and a transport truck.
February 2017 — Over $1 million worth of drugs and proceeds of crime were seized following an ALERT investigation in Lethbridge. Four homes were searched and three people arrested in what is believed to be the city’s largest drug seizure. ALERT Lethbridge’s organized crime and gang team, an integrated unit comprised of Lethbridge Police Service and RCMP investigators, made the seizure on February 11, 2017. Significant quantities of a range of drugs were seized, along with four firearms, four vehicles and cash proceeds of crime. The drugs seized have an estimated street value of $1.2 million and include: 8,054 ecstasy pills; 546 grams of cocaine; 305 grams of methamphetamine; 20.9 kilograms of marijuana; 4.5 kilograms of cannabis resin; 9 kilograms of psilocybin mushrooms; 1,605 tabs of LSD; and 1,575 Xanax pills.
August 2017 — Following an eight-month investigation, ALERT seized four prohibited firearms – including two homemade MAC-11 submachine guns – that were allegedly manufactured at a machinist shop just west of Edmonton. ALERT Edmonton’s Guns and Gangs unit concluded its investigation on August 17, 2017, with the arrest of two suspects. Edmonton Police Service and RCMP investigators helped search two Edmonton homes and a rural property in Parkland County, where it is believed the guns were being manufactured. Four prohibited firearms were seized, including: a Beretta handgun equipped with a suppressor; a modified Suomi submachine gun with two oversized magazines; and two homemade MAC-11 submachine guns outfitted with suppressors and oversized magazines.
March 2017 — Red Deer associates of the Independent Soldiers and Red Scorpions gangs were arrested following a joint investigation between ALERT and Red Deer RCMP. The investigation began in January 2017 and focused on the gang’s activities in Red Deer, which allegedly involved drug trafficking. Investigators searched two Red Deer homes, located on White Avenue and Maxwell Avenue, where the alleged gang associates were arrested along with firearms and an assortment of drugs. The Independent Soldiers are primarily a B.C.-based gang and support clothing linking the gang to Red Deer was seized from one of the homes. The Red Scorpions also have strong ties to B.C. and their presence in Red Deer dates back to at least July 2014.
July 2017 — An ALERT investigation in Grande Prairie resulted in a significant seizure of fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. Nearly $250,000 worth of drugs were taken off the street, making this one of the city’s largest drug seizures ever. Four homes were searched and investigators seized: 1.3 kilograms of powder and crack cocaine; 573 grams of methamphetamine; 1,476 fentanyl pills; approximately 20 grams of marijuana; a Mercedes-Benz SUV; and nearly $2,000 in cash proceeds of crime.
November 2017 — A year-long investigation into a Calgary-based drug trafficking network has led to one of Alberta’s largest drug seizures. More than $4 million worth of fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine was seized by ALERT. Project Offshore was an investigation by ALERT Calgary’s organized crime and gang team that focused on a drug trafficking consortium operating in Calgary. The group was allegedly involved in wholesale drug distribution and money laundering that was provincial in scope. Project Offshore began in September 2016. A total of 11 homes were searched in Calgary during the course of the investigation and arrests took place in November 2017. To date, 11 suspects have been charged with more than 125 criminal offences.