Police have cracked an Edmonton-based drug trafficking ring that smuggled drugs into Bowden Institution.
Ten men and one woman have been arrested and are facing more than 60 charges for their alleged role in a drug trafficking network, which allegedly conspired to smuggle drugs into the prison system and had established connections to Bowden Institution.
“This was a very well-organized, well-co-ordinated group,” said Staff Sgt. Blayne Eliuk, of Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) Edmonton. “Their drug activities jeopardized community safety and hurt communities big and small.
“By introducing drugs into the prison system, this substantially put the health and safety of not only inmates, but also corrections staff and officers, at risk.”
Bowden Institution warden Lawrence Hartigan praised the efforts of his staff and police.
“Partnerships such as this one between ALERT and Correctional Service Canada demonstrate intergovernmental departments working together to keep Canadians safe.”
ALERT Edmonton led the 18-month investigation that began in June 2019 and included Correctional Service of Canada, RCMP from St. Albert, Mornville, Innisfail and police from Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Police seized about $300,000 in cash including $206,000 in cash found during a search of homes in St. Albert and Edmonton. Those searches also turned up large amounts of drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis. A handgun with the serial number filed off was also found.
The 11 suspects, ranging in age from 23 to 31, mostly lived in the Edmonton and St. Albert areas. Two were incarcerated at Bowden Institution during the course of the investigation.
Charges included participation in a criminal organization, drug trafficking, weapons-related offences and charges of delivering contraband to an inmate.
“I want to sincerely thank law enforcement for their incredible job in disrupting a significant drug trafficking network within Alberta’s correctional system,” said Kaycee Madu, Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
“ALERT has done a remarkable job partnering with federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement to remove deadly drugs like fentanyl from our prisons. This kind of organized criminal activity has no place in the correctional system.”