Project Elder Disrupts B.C.-Alberta Drug Pipeline

Edmonton… A two-year investigation by ALERT has cut off a drug pipeline between British Columbia and Alberta. More than $2 million in drugs and cash was seized and a dozen suspects have been arrested.

Project Elder was an [alert-tooltip title=”ALERT has organized crime and gang teams based in seven cities across Alberta. Click for more info.”]ALERT Edmonton[/alert-tooltip] investigation that probed interprovincial, wholesale drug distribution. ALERT alleges that a high volume of drugs were being shipped to Alberta involving a complex scheme that included vehicles equipped with hidden compartments.

ALERT alleges the drugs were being shipped to Edmonton and Calgary with further distribution points across the province.

“Organized crime groups don’t respect borders, which is why we need agencies like ALERT that work with law enforcement partners in other jurisdictions to investigate, disrupt and dismantle serious criminal activity such as organized crime and illegal drug trafficking. I want to thank investigators from ALERT and the other organizations involved in Project Elder for their outstanding and tireless work on this long and complex operation that maintains Albertans’ confidence in our law enforcement agencies’ abilities to ensure they are safe, secure and protected in their communities,” said Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

 

Project Elder concluded on June 5, 2019, with several arrests taking place. Additional arrests and search warrants were staggered over the course of the investigation and took place in Edmonton, Calgary, Innisfail, and Vancouver.

Two homes, two businesses and multiple vehicles were searched. The drugs alone have an estimated street value of $1.5 million. Items seized include:

  • 9.3 kilograms of [alert-tooltip title=”Cocaine is a powerful, addictive drug derived from the leaves of coca plants, which are native to parts of South America. Click for more info.”]cocaine[/alert-tooltip];
  • 17.2 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 6.0 kilograms of [alert-tooltip title=”Methamphetamine (or meth) is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. It is often seen in the form of a white powder with a bitter taste or a pill. Click for more info.”]methamphetamine[/alert-tooltip];
  • 684 grams of [alert-tooltip title=”Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is much more powerful than many others in the opioid family, including heroin, morphine and codeine. Click for more info.”]fentanyl powder[/alert-tooltip];
  • $514,335 cash;
  • a handgun with suppressor and expanded magazine; and
  • 5 vehicles with hidden compartments.

ALERT used a number of sophisticated techniques and specialized resources to dismantle the group. Project Elder relied heavily on the assistance of: Edmonton Police Service; CFSEU-BC; North Vancouver RCMP; RCMP E-Division; Innisfail RCMP; RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime; and Alberta Sheriffs surveillance team.

Project Elder dates back to March 2017 when investigators targeted an Edmonton-based drug trafficking group. ALERT was able to expand the scope of that initial investigation and identified the group’s suspected B.C.-based supplier.

ALERT alleges that Neil Kravets coordinated the supply of drugs from B.C. and oversaw the group’s activities. The 28-year-old man from North Vancouver has subsequently been charged with instructing a [alert-tooltip title=”One of ALERT’s main goals is to disrupt and dismantle organized crime. Click here for more info.”]criminal organization[/alert-tooltip], among a host of other charges.

Eleven suspects with Kravets’s alleged drug network were arrested, many of whom were charged with participation in a criminal organization and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

A total of 59 charges have been laid against:

  • Neil Kravets, 28, from North Vancouver;
  • Brandon Worsley, 29, from Edmonton;
  • Joseph Nicholson, 29, from Airdrie;
  • Brandon Brown, 22, from Edmonton;
  • Richard Sansoucy, 56, from Edmonton;
  • Gregory Ewald, 44, from Edmonton;
  • Fayiz Moghrabi, 28, from Vancouver;
  • Randolph Chalifoux, 37, from Edmonton;
  • Suk Han, 35, from Vancouver;
  • Andy Estrada, 29, from Edmonton;
  • Daniel Estrada Sr., 58, from Edmonton; and
  • Moshe Banin, 31, from Edmonton;

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

[alert-tooltip title=”More than 300 municipal police and RCMP officers work together in teams at ALERT to investigate everything from drug trafficking to child exploitation to gang violence. Click for more info.”]ALERT[/alert-tooltip] was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.

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Notices to media:

  • A detailed list of charges is available for download: PDF
  • An infographic on Project Elder is available for download: PDF

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.