'Lives have been saved:' fentanyl, meth seized in Calgary
CALGARY — Five large tables loaded with fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and firearms was the culmination of a year-long investigation into a drug-trafficking network based in Calgary.
The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams displayed the seizure from 11 different Calgary homes at a news conference last week.
“This is ALERT’s largest fentanyl seizure to date,” said Insp. Patty McCallum. “It is the investigators belief these pills were sourced from British Columbia.”
“Given the health crisis our communities have faced over opioid abuse, there’s no doubt in my mind that lives have been saved.”
McCallum said the 15,757 fentanyl pills and 28 kilograms of methamphetamine are both record seizures in Alberta. But she said it’s obvious there’s plenty more out there.
“It’s anyone’s guess as to how much is out there. We’re not naive to the fact that we aren’t going to be able to get it all, but it certainly puts a dent in the abilities of the drug traffickers,” she said.
Police laid 120 charges during Project Offshore related to drugs, firearms, proceeds of crime, and organized crime. Warrants have been issued for three of the suspects who have not yet been arrested.
The methamphetamine, which was 96 per cent pure, either came from Calgary or Mexico. The fentanyl is believed to have come from British Columbia.
“With this particular network we found it went from Vancouver to Calgary to Saskatoon to Toronto to Montreal, so we’ve hit several different provinces with this investigation.”
The investigation involved a number of agencies including the Calgary Police Service, RCMP, Lethbridge Police, Alberta Sheriffs, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, Seized Property Management Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency, and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
McCallum said a half million dollars in cash was also seized as well as several vehicles and two homes including a “million dollar mansion” in north Calgary.
ALERT is funded by the Alberta government. Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said it’s obvious the money is being well-spent and it might need to expand help to victims of drug abuse.
“We’re certainly aware that there’s a crisis occurring with respect to drugs in this province,” Ganley said.
“Investigators will always have to work to keep up with the sort of evolution of the trade and I think we have to work also on the health front to ensure that we’re sort of tackling the demand for these sorts of products.”
Ganley said she didn’t intend to speak on behalf of her colleagues at Alberta Health but knows they’re attempting to provide additional resources for treatment.
“If there’s one thing that this demonstrates absolutely certainly is we need to continue to invest in this sort of service as well as in the health services in spite of the economic downturn,” Ganley said.
“This is a time when it’s more crucial than ever to invest in these services.”
- Bill Graveland
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