Project Frontier disrupts Fort McMurray drug trade

Fort McMurray… The Fort McMurray drug market has been dealt a major blow with nearly half a million dollars in drugs and cash seized. ALERT dismantled the alleged drug trafficking network with the arrest of three suspects.


Project Frontier was a 14-month investigation led by ALERT’s Fort McMurray organized crime team, and assisted by Wood Buffalo RCMP. The project sought to disrupt suspected drug trafficking activity in the region and concluded with arrests taking place between September 9-13, 2022.


ALERT seized roughly $500,000 worth of drugs and cash, including:

  • 1,066 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 224 grams of fentanyl powder;
  • 2,363 grams of cocaine;
  • 15,160 grams of a cocaine buffing agent; and
  • $90,000 cash.


“Project Frontier is a tremendous example of ALERT’s tireless efforts to keep communities safe from organized crime activity. Our investigators were diligent in working their way up from street-level drugs sales, to the local supplier, and ultimately dismantling this criminal enterprise,” said Insp. Brad Lundeen, ALERT Regional teams.


Two Fort McMurray homes were searched as part of Project Frontier and additional seizures took place over the course of the investigation. Project Frontier began in July 2021.


“The Wood Buffalo RCMP Detachment is fortunate to have a strong partnership and working relationship with ALERT.  We will continue to work as an investigative team to keeping the residents of Fort McMurray safe,” said Supt. Mark Hancock, Woof Buffalo RCMP.


A total of 17 criminal offences were laid against three suspects. The offences range from drug trafficking to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence:

  • Edwin Valdez, 38-year from Fort McMurray;
  • Samuel Crisby, 30-year-old from Fort McMurray; and
  • Shane Rhodes, 28-year-old from Fort McMurray.


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.