Project Embrace Makes 6 Arrests, $1 Million in Seizures
Edmonton… A drug trafficking network that spanned Alberta and British Columbia has been dismantled. ALERT’s Project Embrace has resulted in the arrest of six suspects and the seizure of over $1 million worth of drugs and cash.
Project Embrace was a nine-month investigation that targeted all facets of the suspected criminal network’s operation, including supply, distribution, and street-level sales. 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. In addition, half a dozen suspects were charged, with the most recent arrests taking place in late June 2019.
Project Embrace collected evidence to suggest an Edmonton-based group coordinated the supply of drugs from British Columbia, and then facilitated distribution in Alberta – specifically in the communities of Bonnyville, Lloydminster, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Little Smoky and Frog Lake.
Investigators allege that Matthew Castle was at the centre of the Edmonton group, which involved family members and associates. Castle allegedly conspired with B.C.-based David Davinder Lally and Jacob Fralin to import drugs into Alberta.
Six homes were searched, including four in Edmonton and two Vancouver apartments. In total, investigators seized:
- 6.5 kilograms of cocaine;
- 2 kilograms of methamphetamine;
- 18 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
- $342,982 cash; and
- a 2007 Volvo XC90 with a hidden mechanized compartment.
The following suspects were each charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs, in addition to a range of other offences:
- Matthew Castle, 29, from Edmonton;
- Terri Lynn Castle, 50, from Edmonton
- Christian Castle-Wasson, 18, from Edmonton;
- David Davinder Lally, 40, from Vancouver;
- Jacob Fralin, 32, from Vancouver; and
- Ryan Rautiainen, 26, from Lloydminster.
Project Embrace began in October 2018 when Bonnyville RCMP developed criminal intelligence about drug trafficking taking place in the area.
In conjunction with Project Embrace, Bonnyville RCMP arrested a number of street-level dealers in separate investigations. Each of the following was charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking:
- Charlie Houle, 24, from Bonnyville;
- Brent Coell, 18, from Bonnyville;
- Rayden Hill, 22, from Bonnyville;
- Michael Pownall, 36, from Bonnyville;
- Britney Coulombe, 27, from Bonnyville;
- Wayne Friesen, 27, from Bonnyville;
- Tyanna John, 21, from Bonnyville; and
- Dustin Gellerman, 27, from Bonnyville.
A number of other police agencies were involved in Project Embrace, including Edmonton Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, RCMP K-Division, Kamloops RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, Cold Lake RCMP, Elk Point RCMP, Kitscoty RCMP and St. Paul RCMP.
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. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.
Notice to media: More photos of goods seized will be available for download on Thursday afternoon.