Asset 1ALERT-Wide-White

DRUGS

ALERT plays a substantial and important role in the cooperative investigation and intervention of illicit drugs trafficked by organized crime in Alberta.

$ 0 +

Estimated total street value of illegal drugs seized by ALERT teams since 2006

$ 0

Estimated total street value of illegal drugs seized by ALERT teams (2022-23 financial year)

Importing & Exporting

It's illegal to import and/or export controlled substances, or possess them this purpose.

Trafficking

It's illegal to sell, transport, distribute, or otherwise traffic controlled substances, or possess them for this purpose.

Any Other Things

These actions are also illegal in relation to any thing intending to be used to produce/traffic a controlled substance.

The above information provides a basic overview of crimes relating to controlled substances. It’s everyone’s responsibility to know the law. Learn more about the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

ORGANIZED CRIME

In Alberta, organized crime groups (OCG) exist. Drug trafficking is one of the top criminal market commodities for organized crime.

In Canada, over 50% of organized crime groups operate across multiple jurisdictions.[1] Consequently, Alberta is affected by both locally-bred OCGs as well as external groups that operate in Alberta and/or have Alberta-based ties. These criminal groups affect all communities in Alberta – it’s estimated that more than 73% of OCGs are heavily involved in violence to further their means.[1]

Fentanyl

Clandestine OCG-operated synthetic drug labs have higher fentanyl production capacities than there is demand for in Canada.[1]

Methamphetamine

The most significant Canadian methamphetamine network encompasses two thirds of all OCGs, and includes members of a High-Level Threat group.[1]

Cyber-Enabled Trafficking

Fentanyl & meth-involved OCGs exploit cyber-enabled criminal methods, such as hardened communications and the dark web.[1]

High-Level Threat Group

A High-Level Threat OCG is present in Alberta. These groups leverage strategic violence for control and economic gain.[2]

1500%

Since 2015, Canadian OCG involvement in fentanyl has increased by 1500%. In Alberta, it is the dominant OCG-related drug threat.[3]

28%

Since 2015, OCG involvement in meth has gone up 28%.[3]

OPIOIDS

Opioids have long been trafficked and produced illegally in Alberta. Opioids are medications, which in a legal context are administered, used, and/or prescribed by licensed medical practitioners to treat sudden, severe and/or ongoing pain.[5] Commonly known opioids include heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl and others. Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous and potent drugs trafficked through the illegal market in Alberta. While fentanyl is accepted as a current ‘popular’ opioid, heroin is still found in many seizures.

Fentanyl can be mixed in other drugs (and vice versa), and consumption of even a very small amount can be deadly. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine ;[4] an amount as small as a grain of sand can trigger an overdose, or worse – cause death.

More recently, extremely potent fentanyl analogues have been surfacing in ALERT investigations, demonstrating the dynamic nature of drug production and trafficking in Alberta.

2019-20

1.99+ KG

Almost 2kg of fentanyl powder was removed from Alberta communities along with over 1,000 pills in the 2019-20 period.

2020-21

3+ KG

Over 3kg of Fentanyl was removed from Alberta communities by ALERT in the 2020-21 period. That's enough to kill Calgary's entire population.

2021-22

50+kg

Over 50kg of fentanyl was removed from Alberta communities by ALERT in the 2021-22 period. That's enough to kill everyone in Alberta at least 6 times.

2022-23

9+kg

Over 9kg of fentanyl was removed from Alberta communities by ALERT in the 2022-23 period. ALERT also seized over 5,500 fentanyl tablet/pills.

This data is based on certified unintentional acute drug poisoning deaths only. Apparent unintentional fentanyl poisoning deaths are not included. Therefore, the totals here will not match totals in other mortality data. Learn More

  • Fentanyl is 40-50x more potent  than heroin
  • Higher potency = higher overdose risk
  • Fentanyl is often mixed in with other drugs, and it’s hard to know when this has occurred as it has no smell, color or taste. It can be present in any powder, pill, liquid or form.
  • Fentanyl is often misrepresented as another drug. You may think you’re buying another drug, when in fact, you’re buying fentanyl.
  • Likewise, other drugs may be misrepresented as fentanyl. You may think you’re buying fentanyl, when in fact, you’re buying carfentanil or another drug that’s even more dangerous. Learn more about fentanyl analogues below.
  • To increase street sales and economic profit for organized crime groups, pure fentanyl powder may be diluted into multiple doses – many more doses than the drug would normally yield. However, there is no guarantee of the ratio (proportion) of fentanyl to buffing agent or other substances. One dose may have a high concentration of buffing agent (filler), making it tolerable for the average consumer. Another dose from the same dealer will have minimal buffing agent and a high concentration of fentanyl, causing overdose or death.

The consumption effects of fentanyl vary between individuals. There are many harmful short and long-term effects. Consuming illicit Fentanyl always involves dangerous risks, including the risk of overdose and death.

Learn more about Fentanyl (Health Canada) 

  • Drug analogues are substances that share certain traits pharmacologically or in chemical structure with another substance. However, despite similarities, slight differences can make analogues substantially more dangerous.
  • The nature of Alberta’s illicit opioid market is dynamic and constantly changing. Throughout ALERT investigations and drug seizures, dangerous opioid analogues have been identified as being trafficked/sold on their own, and mixed in many other substances.
  • Given the dynamic nature of opioid trafficking, and that typically, substances are often simply sold as fentanyl despite being a mixture, it’s challenging to pinpoint specific substances at any given time that may be riskier than others. However, ALERT has recently seen a rise in carfentanil and fluorfentanyl being trafficked and found in other drugs. Carfentanil is a substance known to be used as a sedative for large mammals such as moose and elephants. It is approximately 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

Learn to recognize the signs of an overdose:

  • Person is unresponsive
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Gurgling sounds or snoring
  • Cold, clammy or bluish skin
  • Severe sleepiness or loss of consciousness

What to do if you suspect an overdose:

  • Call 911 immediately for emergency medical assistance
  • Use naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose
  • Staying at the scene of an overdose is important to help save the life of the person experiencing an overdose. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for individuals who witness an overdose and call 911 or their local emergency number for help.

 

Report organized criminal activity. If there is a crime in progress or immediate threat to life or safety, call 911.

CFSEU Edmonton

Project Essence

July 2021: ALERT executed 13 search warrants across Edmonton and Calgary homes, business and properties to ultimately dismantle a fentanyl superlab located in rural Alberta south of Calgary. The superlab was capable of producing up to 10 million street-level doses per week. ALERT seized over $300 million of drugs and precursors.

Learn More
CFSEU Calgary

Project Coyote

November 2019: An international investigation involving ALERT and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency intercepted record amounts of cocaine and fentanyl. Seizures includes $15 million in drugs, $4.5 million in cash and assets, and 13 firearms. Houses were restrained, and ecstasy pills along with psilocybin mushrooms were also seized.

Learn More
CFSEU Calgary

Project Arbour

February 2018: ALERT dismantled an organized crime group operating out of Calgary through a year-long investigation. ALERT also located and dismantled a clandestine lab operating in Calgary. Fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and cannabis products were seized along with vehicles, firearms, and drug manufacturing equipment.

Learn More

250+ Organized Crime Groups

Have been identified in Canada as involved in some part of the production and/or trafficking of fentanyl, as well as the import of precursors and chemicals used for this purpose. These groups often use violence, and place communities at risk.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (commonly known as Meth) is an illicit stimulant with psychoactive effects. This synthetic drug is available in many forms such as powder, tablets, crystals and chunks.[7]

When consumed, its euphoric highs come paired with harmful psychological and physical effects in both the short and long run.

The ingredients, proportions and methods used by people who make Methamphetamine varies. Therefore, it’s hard to know what’s in a given dose, and some doses may have fentanyl in them.

Producing Methamphetamine involves the mixing, heating, evaporating and other processing of highly flammable and explosive chemicals. The risk of a clandestine laboratory fire and/or explosions is dangerous for neighbors, communities, children and animals. [8]

2019-20

12+ KG

Over 12kg of methamphetamine was seized by ALERT in the 2019-20 period.

2020-21

38+ KG

Over 38kg of methamphetamine was seized by ALERT in the 2020-21 period.

2021-22

71+ KG

Over 71kg of methamphetamine was seized by ALERT in the 2021-22 period.

2022-23

52+ KG

Over 52kg of methamphetamine was seized by ALERT in the 2022-23 period.
  • Producing Methamphetamine involves the mixing, heating, evaporating and other processing of highly flammable and explosive chemicals. The risk of a clandestine laboratory fire and/or explosions is dangerous for neighbors, communities, children, and animals. Methamphetamine production uses ingredients of many common products, such as nail polish remover, paint thinner, roadkill dissolver, brake fluid and batteries.
  • Although Methamphetamine can be produced in large-scale contexts, moth meth is made in small labs secretly comparted within homes, apartments, motel rooms, RV’s, house trailers, campgrounds, and even private businesses.
  • Even after dynamic and responsive law enforcement teams such as ALERT dismantle a Methamphetamine lab, the property may still remain hazardous due to contamination.
  • Sometimes, raw ingredients may not be, in of themselves, harmful when untouched. However, the multiple processes during Meth production that manipulate, change or mix these substances creates new chemicals that are extremely toxic, corrosive, or lethal.

The consumption effects of Methamphetamine vary between individuals. There are many harmful short and long-term effects. Consuming illicit Methamphetamine always involves dangerous risks, including the risk of overdose and death.

Learn more about Methamphetamine (Health Canada) 

Learn to recognize the signs of a clandestine lab.

From outside:

  • Blacked out or covered up windows
  • Excessive garbage including chemical containers such as antifreeze, batteries, drain cleaner.
  • Unusual strong odors such as cat urine, ammonia, acetone, or other chemical/solvent smells.
  • Hoses hanging/protruding from windows; open windows vented with fans during the winter.
  • Extensive security measures
  • Secretive/paranoid occupants
  • Visitors at odd hours

From inside:

  • Ammonia
  • Dismantled/removed smoke detectors
  • Empty pill bottles, cans of alcohol, paint thinner
  • Funnels
  • Lab equipment – glass tubes, Bunsen burners, beakers, large plastic containers
  • Large amounts of cat litter
  • Multiple stoves, hot plates, blow torches
  • Red stained coffee filters

 

Report clandestine labs to Crimestoppers or your local non-emergency line. If you believe immediate threat to life or safety, call 911.

Check back soon for additional ALERT drug resources.

CFSEU Calgary

Operation Cadbury

May 2021: ALERT's Calgary organized crime and gangs team concluded a short-term investigation with a record drug haul. ALERT seized enough methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and GHB to equal an estimated 100,000 doses. In total, ALERT seized roughly $3 million worth of drugs and cash.

Learn More
CFSEU Edmonton

Operation Ethanol

January 2021: Nearly 14 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized from an Edmonton home. The drugs have an estimated street value of $1.35 million. While dismantling this distribution point, cocaine, MDMA, suspected fentanyl, cannabis resin, psilocybin mushrooms, oxycontin and cash were also seized.

Learn More
CFSEU Calgary

Project Offshore

November 2017: A year-long investigation into a Calgary-based drug trafficking network has led to one of Alberta’s largest drug seizures. More than $4 million worth of fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine was seized by ALERT, in addition to the restraining of a north Calgary mansion.

Learn More












Buffing Agents

$313,182 seized in 2021-22 financial year. Buffing agents are used to dilute drugs in order to increase quantity and, in return, profits for dealers.












Cocaine

$2,946,701 seized in 2021-22 financial year. Cocaine is a widely known street drug derived from coca leaves and most often appears as white powder.












GHB

$290,880 seized in 2021-22 financial year. GHB is a depressant typically used as a club drug and also known as one substance used as a "date-rape" drug.












Carfentanil

Carfentanil is a powerful opioid that is even more potent than fentanyl. In 2019, ALERT seized $116,000 of carfentanyl in Lethbridge.












Ketamine

Ketamine is a powerful fast-acting anesthetic primarily used in animal medicine. Illicitly, it is used as a dissociative (mind-altering effect).












MDMA

MDMA is a stimulant that increases various chemicals in the brain. It is most often known as a "club drug" that people use when partying.












Cannabis

Despite cannabis being legal, it still holds a place in the drug trafficking market for organized crime. $27,890 worth was seized in the 2021-22 financial year.












Psilocybin

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic drug contained in certain types of mushrooms, often referred to as "magic mushrooms."












LSD

LSD is a strong hallucinogen, warping one's sense of reality and altering sensory perception. It also substantially affects one's judgement.

Unregulated chemicals

Organized Crime Groups operate clandestine labs, supplied by brokers and facilitators who source, supply and divert large quantities of unregulated chemicals and precursors for Methamphetamine production.

Protecting Kids Online | Internet Child Exploitation

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FILE INTAKES

680

872

1,149

1,114

3,815

2,994

2,764

SUSPECTS CHARGED

22

16

34

37

109

81

125

CHARGES LAID

87

45

123

160

415

351

413

CHILDREN RESCUED

26

78

56

43

203

46

100

EXHIBITS SEIZED

335

368

545

476

1,724

1,243

1,845

TOTAL PHOTOS/VIDEOS

262,400

511,133

1,374,310

606,254

2,754,097

2,551,921

13,260,819

Stopping Human Trafficking | HUMAN TRAFFICKING & COUNTER EXPLOITATION

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

13

10

7

4

34

30

76

CHARGES LAID

79

46

87

19

231

96

157

VICTIM INTERVENTIONS

30

29

17

37

113

28

22

Intelligence & Expertise | CISA / Training

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

INTELLIGENCE REPORTS

409

296

327

442

1,474

1,560

1,318

TRAINING COURSES

5

3

8

11

27

36

25

CANDIDATES TRAINED

321

56

135

350

862

933

638

Disrupt & Dismantle Organized Crime | Combined Special Forces Enforcement

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

40

27

42

32

141

197

168

CHARGES LAID

176

156

237

231

800

1,088

820

FIREARMS SEIZED

105

53

26

48

232

102

126

EST. VALUE OF DRUGS SEIZED

$906,814

$553,851

$2,725,161

$1,148,337

$5,334,163

$10,898,269

$334,093,020

PROCEEDS OF CRIME SEIZED

$218,133

$52,970

$130,996

$230,195

$632,294

$1,432,847

$21,740,617

ANNUAL Regional ResultS

ARRESTS

CHARGES

FIREARMS

DRUGS

PROCEEDS

CALGARY

24

110

14

$937,422

$65,881

EDMONTON

17

131

45

$592,839

$272,446

FORT MCMURRAY

8

78

4

$352,942

$144,301

GRANDE PRAIRIE

7

17

13

$192,145

$31,855

LETHBRIDGE

7

29

44

$349,773

$51,245

LLOYDMINSTER

24

93

41

$164,134

$12,504

MEDICINE HAT

37

179

13

$293,108

$7,861

RED DEER

17

163

58

$2,451,800

$46,201

TOTALS

141

800

232

$5,334,163

$632,294

Organized Property Crimes | Auto Crimes

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

1

1

2

1

10

CHARGES LAID

11

47

STOLEN VEHICLES

23

15

1

6

45

245

118

RECOVERED ASSETS

$1,432,000

$941,025

$108,000

$260,000

$2,741025

$8,420,500

$3,919,500

Firearms investigations | Firearms lab & Gang suPpression teams

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FIREARMS EXAMINATIONS

349

351

243

235

1,178

EXHIBIT EXAMINATIONS

1,316

1,409

891

1,099

4,715

SERIAL NUMBER RESTORATIONS

31

34

19

24

108

IBIS SUBMISSIONS

343

421

1,334

304

2,402

GUN SEIZURES

1

14

15

SUSPECTS CHARGED

4

22

26

CHARGES LAID

41

144

185

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) involves images and/or videos that depict the sexual abuse of minors – the majority of which involve prepubescent children. Often, CSAM involves explicit and/or extreme sexual assaults against the child victim (Cybertip.ca).

Learn more about Internet Child Exploitation and ALERT’s integrated teams combatting this issue.

Ghost Guns are illegal, privately manufactured firearms or lower receivers. These weapons are often made with 3D-printers, and undermine public safety due to their lack of licensing requirements, serialization and safety controls.

Learn more about Ghost Guns on ALERT’s dedicated Privately Manufactured Firearms info page