Two alleged gang associates are at the centre of a criminal investigation that ended in arrests and seizures of guns and drugs, including fentanyl.
The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team and the Red Deer RCMP believe the accused were associates of the Independent Soldiers and the Red Scorpions respectively.
ALERT Insp. Chad Coles, said the gangs have strong ties to the B.C. Lower Mainland.
“It would appear they (Independent Soldiers) were trying to establish a presence here in Red Deer,” said Coles. “Our enforcement action and these arrests have prevented the formal establishment of a larger gang.”
ALERT and the Red Deer General Investigative Section began their investigation into the gangs’ activities in December, 2016. The investigation culminated in searches of two homes, on White Avenue and Maxwell Avenue, which led to four arrests and the seizure of guns, drugs and clothing branded with the Independent Soldier’s logo.
The street value of the drugs seized was about $25,000. Among the drugs seized were methamphetamine, cocaine, GHB, ketamine and fentanyl.
“We believe the fentanyl powder was sold as heroin and we’re in the process of trying to identify the powder seized through lab analysis,” said Coles.
“We’re all well aware of the impact on public safety fentanyl trafficking has had in the province. It’s a very dangerous drug.”
Police also found a .22-calibre rifle and a .38-calibre revolver handgun.
This is the second time the Red Scorpions gang has been the subject of a local police investigation. In 2014, Cody Lesperance, 32, of B.C. was arrested in Balmoral Heights, east of Red Deer. An alleged member of the Red Scorpions, he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in February, 2016 on drug and firearm charges.
Kim Proctor, 37, is charged with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm, two counts of possession of a weapon obtained by crime and possession of property obtained by crime. Police allege he is an associate of the Independent Soldiers.
Steven Herman, 36, is charged with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a controlled substance. Police allege he is an associate of the Red Scorpions.
“Gangs and organized crime groups will often work in concert with one another,” said Coles. “They’re profit driven, so at certain times they will work together, at other times they may be foes.”
Two women were also arrested and face possession for the purpose of trafficking charges.
“It doesn’t mean the work ends,” said Supt. Ken Foster, Red Deer RCMP. “The work is always ongoing. The public should never underestimate the power they have in solving crime.
“Red Deer is a good city, Red Deer is a safe city, Red Deer is full of tremendous citizens engaged trying to make their community safe. However, we do have a small bit of the population who commit and inordinate amount of the crime.”