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UPDATE: Charges laid in case of fentanyl superlab

UPDATE: Charges laid in case of fentanyl superlab

Edmonton… Ten suspects have been arrested and 139 charges laid in relation to one of Canada’s largest fentanyl seizures, which included the dismantling of a Calgary area fentanyl superlab.

ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime and gang team have concluded Project Essence almost one year since the Calgary area fentanyl superlab was dismantled in July 2021. Details of Project Essence were shared at a September 2021 news conference by ALERT, which reported seizing more than 31 kilograms of fentanyl and its precursors and 7,600 kilograms of chemicals used in fentanyl production, with an estimated street value in excess of $300 million.

Link to original news release

The arrests were made at the beginning of June 2022 after investigators completed the required reports and disclosure for Crown Counsel. Further, Health Canada laboratory expert analysis on the substances seized was also completed.

One of the substances seized, initially reported as 10.5 kilograms of a synthetic opioid, was analyzed by Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service and identified as isotonitazene.  Isotonitazene, an illicit drug regulated under Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, is a synthetic opioid that is believed to be more potent than fentanyl.  To date, the quantity of isotonitazene seized as a result of ALERT’s investigation is the largest reported seizure of isotonitazene in North America.

The suspects are charged with a variety of offence, ranging from fentanyl production to criminal conspiracy:

  • Jesse Deranger, 28-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Juan Galan, 55-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Gregory Hebb, 45-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Dakota Hogg, 27-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Christopher Loyie, 33-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Jonathon Loyie, 35-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Chad Loyie, 33-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Sierra Meuller, 19-year-old woman from Edmonton;
  • Ryan Simpson, 41-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Graham Thomas, 32-year-old man from Edmonton.

A full charge sheet can be found in this (PDF). 

Project Essence covered all aspects of fentanyl production; from importation, to accumulation and stockpiling of equipment and raw chemicals, to production, and eventual distribution. The investigation began in February 2021.

Chemical disposal and containment costs associated to the lab were approximately $75,000.

During the investigation, ALERT relied on the expertise and assistance of a number of specialized agencies, including Edmonton Police, Calgary Police, RCMP, Health Canada, Alberta Health Services, CBSA, Okotoks Fire Department, Foothill County Fire Department, British Columbia Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and Alberta Environment.

Since 2022, CISA has been guided by four pillars that focus the effort to promote an integrated, intelligence-led approach to combating organized crime; these are:

  • Building Relationships with Stakeholders;
  • Promote Intel Sharing Across the Province;
  • Being Proactive and Identify Emerging Trends; and
  • Investing in Our People Through Training and Development

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