The last 12 months have just flown by, and ALERT has seen some big successes during that time. Let’s take a moment to reflect on some of our biggest headlines from 2019 …
JANUARY 2019: A suspected fentanyl lab operating out of a detached garage in the Calgary residential neighbourhood of Forest Lawn was dismantled by ALERT, Calgary Police Service and the RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team in January. Approximately $75,000 worth of drugs were seized, along with a pill press, dies, chemicals, containers and packing materials.
FEBRUARY 2019: A total of 15 suspected drug dealers were implicated in a series of ALERT organized crime and gang investigations in Fort McMurray between December 2018 and February 2019. Four homes were searched, 37 charges were laid, and more than $29,000 worth of drugs and cash were seized.
MAY 2019: Two members of a Red Deer outlaw motorcycle club were charged with drug trafficking offences following a lengthy ALERT investigation that concluded in late April. The suspects were full-patch members of the Syndicate outlaw motorcycle club, a support club of the Hells Angels. An estimated $350,000 worth of drugs was seized, along with firearms, motorcycles and cash.
MAY 2019: A suspected transaction between a firearms trafficker and a drug dealer was intercepted by ALERT teams in Grande Prairie in May. Three suspects were arrested in the parking lot of a Grande Prairie shopping centre, where an alleged exchange of firearms was taking place. Two vehicles were searched and investigators seized four handguns, a rifle, ammunition, body armour, cash and 810 grams of cocaine.
JUNE 2019: A two-year investigation by ALERT that concluded in June cut off a drug pipeline between British Columbia and Alberta. More than $2 million in drugs and cash was seized — including 9.3 kilograms of cocaine, 6 kilograms of fentanyl powder — and a dozen suspects were arrested.
JULY 2019: A joint investigation involving the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation Unit and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit in late June resulted in the rapid capture of two men and the rescue of two children in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Sask ICE and ALERT ICE respectively executed search warrants in Rocanville, Saskatchewan, and in Red Deer, Alberta, arrested two men who were allegedly sharing child pornography and discussing sexually assaulting children.
JULY 2019: A drug trafficking network that spanned Alberta and British Columbia was dismantled by ALERT in late June. Project Embrace resulted in the arrest of six suspects and the seizure of over $1 million worth of drugs and cash. ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team led the investigation with the assistance of British Columbia’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and Bonnyville RCMP. More than six kilograms of cocaine and two kilograms of methamphetamine were seized, along with more than $342,000 in cash.
JULY 2019: A two-month investigation by ALERT’s Medicine Hat organized crime team that concluded in July resulted in what is believed to be the largest methamphetamine seizure in the city’s history at 1.13 kilograms. Five people were arrested, and more than $120,000 worth of drugs and cash were seized.
JULY 2019: Over a million dollars’ worth of cocaine was seized after ALERT conducted search warrants at two Edmonton homes in July. ALERT seized over 11 kilograms of cocaine and 84 kilograms of Phenacetin, a cocaine buffing agent that was banned in Canada in 1973 due to its carcinogenic and kidney-damaging properties. A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with drug-related offences.
AUGUST 2019: A lengthy investigation by ALERT Lethbridge’s organized crime team concluded in August with the arrest of a 31-year-old Calgary man for his alleged role in a long-running series of organized vehicle tire thefts. At least eight Alberta car dealerships — in Lethbridge, Leduc, Taber, Wetaskiwin and Calgary — had been targeted dating back to March 2016, and more than $250,000 worth of tires and rims had been stolen.
SEPTEMBER 2019: More than a dozen firearms, some of which were stolen, were recovered by ALERT’s Red Deer organized crime and gang team in September after a search warrant was executed at a home in the Clearview Ridge subdivision. These included 12 rifles (including one semi-automatic), two handguns, a sawed-off shotgun, a prohibited magazine and more than 9,000 rounds of ammunition.
NOVEMBER 2019: An international investigation involving ALERT and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that concluded in October resulted in the seizure of record amounts of cocaine and fentanyl for ALERT. Project Coyote was a two-year investigation that resulted in the seizure of $15 million worth of drugs, over $4.5 million in cash and assets, and 13 firearms. Seven people were arrested, and face a total of 77 criminal charges.