ALERT's Top Headlines of 2018
It has been another eventful year here at ALERT, so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the biggest headlines we had in 2018 …
February 2018 — ALERT urged caution after a significant amount of what was believed to be a powerful opioid was seized in a bust in southern Alberta. One person was arrested. On February 7, 2018, ALERT’s Lethbridge organized crime and gang team arrested a 27-year-old woman outside a business in Claresholm, Alta. During the arrest, investigators seized a total of 114.5 grams of powder that they suspect could contain carfentanil, a drug that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
March 2018 — A year-long investigation by ALERT dismantled an alleged organized crime group operating out of Calgary. ALERT worked alongside the Calgary Police Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to link the group to numerous alleged criminal offences. Project Arbour was an investigation by ALERT Calgary’s organized crime and gang team that uncovered a Calgary organized crime group’s alleged operation of a fentanyl and steroids lab; cross-border drug trade and Utah’s largest methamphetamine seizure; and an alleged role in the murder of Colin Reitberger and Anees Amr. Project Arbour concluded on February 15, 2018, when several Calgary homes were searched and arrests were made.
May 2018 — A total of eight firearms – including assault rifles, suppressors, and over-capacity magazines – were seized as the result of an ALERT investigation in Edmonton and Fort McMurray. ALERT’s Edmonton organized crime and gang team seized the high-powered firearms following an investigation that primarily focused on two brothers. Alexander and Ryan Kurkut, both 27 years old, were arrested on May 18, 2018, and charged with numerous firearms offences.
July 2018 — A lengthy organized crime investigation in the Red Deer area resulted in the seizure of five firearms and more than $250,000 worth of drugs and cash. Project Rails was a year-long investigation by ALERT’s Red Deer organized crime and gang team into suspected drug trafficking. The investigation concluded with the arrest of two suspects on June 21, 2018. A total of 57 criminal charges have been laid.
July 2018 — An international child exploitation investigation that began in Alberta led to the arrest of a man in Rotterdam, Netherlands. At least five victims were identified, including a Lethbridge youth. ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit worked alongside the Lethbridge Police Service and National Police Netherlands on the case that involved online sexual extortion. A suspect was arrested in Rotterdam on July 4, 2018.
August 2018 — A joint investigation between ALERT and RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime dismantled an extensive cocaine distribution network linked to a member of the Hells Angels and support club members. Project Entry was a year-long investigation that resulted in 10 people charged with 45 criminal offences. Those accused allegedly fulfilled various roles within a cocaine distribution network that impacted the communities of Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Cold Lake, Whitecourt, and Grande Prairie. Project Entry resulted in the seizure of five kilograms of cocaine, half a kilogram of the buffing agent Phenacetin, cannabis resin, and a handgun. Multiple vehicles and motorcycles were seized, along with $13,000 cash proceeds of crime.
August 2018 — ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime and gang team shut down a fentanyl processing lab operating out of a home in southeast Edmonton. Two people were arrested and nearly $1 million worth of drugs were seized. With the help of the Edmonton Police Service’s Clandestine Lab Team, ALERT investigators executed a search warrant on the home in the Silverberry neighbourhood on August 8, 2018. Once inside, they discovered a lab where fentanyl was being processed to look like heroin. More than two kilograms of processed fentanyl was seized, which, if sold as heroin, has an estimated value of $800,000.
June 2018 — A family physician from Sylvan Lake was charged with child exploitation offences following a joint investigation involving ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit and the Victoria Police Department. Dr. Fred Janke was arrested in Edmonton on June 28, 2018, with the help of the Edmonton Police Service. The 62-year-old man is facing charges of making arrangements to commit sexual offences against a child, making child pornography, and distribution of child pornography.
August 2018 — A cocaine trafficking network operating out of Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Fort McMurray was dismantled following a lengthy ALERT investigation. Project Fortune resulted in the seizure of more than $1 million worth of cocaine and cash, as well as 49 criminal charges being laid against seven suspects. The investigation unfolded over 16 months and concluded with arrests on July 26, 2018. Project Fortune targeted wholesale cocaine trafficking in northern Alberta communities. ALERT conducted search warrants at three homes in north Edmonton and two residences in Fort McMurray. A total of eight kilograms of cocaine was seized, along with $215,000 cash proceeds of crime.
January 2018 — More than half a kilogram of cocaine was seized along with two firearms following a joint investigation between ALERT, Fairview RCMP, Peace River RCMP and Grande Prairie RCMP. ALERT’s Grande Prairie organized crime and gang team made the seizure on January 5, 2018, during a traffic stop and the search of a home in Fairview, Alta.; three people were arrested in total. RCMP detachments from Fairview, Peace River, and Grande Prairie were all involved in the investigation, which dates back to September 2017.
August 2018 — Two men were arrested after ALERT searched two homes and two vehicles in Calgary and seized more than $700,000 worth of drugs and cash. ALERT’s Calgary organized crime and gang team made the seizure on July 26, 2018 after searching homes in the neighbourhoods of Copperfield and Douglasdale. Both homes were allegedly being used to package and press cocaine for street-level drug sales.
November 2018 — A Medicine Hat-based cocaine trafficking network has been dismantled following a lengthy and complex investigation by ALERT. Project Maverick has resulted in charges against 10 suspects and the seizure of roughly $200,000 worth of drugs, cash proceeds of crime, and property obtained by crime. Fourteen firearms were also seized.