Criminals are getting creative.
Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles and taken drugs off the streets of Western Canada in the latest drug bust.
Among the items seized were five vehicles and a fuel tank, which housed a hidden compartment that was being used to transport drugs from B.C. to Red Deer.
“We know criminals are using hidden compartments in vehicles and innovative designs and new ways of hiding their drugs,” said Red Deer RCMP Sgt. Paul Glanville on Thursday.
“Are we surprised to find something like this? Not necessarily. For something like that to be found in Red Deer though is significant.
“If you look at the size of the (hidden) compartment and the potential for the amount of drugs coming (to Red Deer and surrounding areas) it’s significant … and that they’ve gone to these means to move their drugs.”
Police announced Thursday the Red Deer detachment, along with Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds RCMP members, began conducting an investigation into a high-profile drug trafficking operation in the region on Sept. 17.
“That investigation led to identifying an individual who was travelling between Red Deer and the Lower Mainland in B.C., and ultimately was transporting large amounts of drugs from the Lower Mainland to Red Deer and central Alberta for distribution,” said Glanville.
On Nov. 26, search warrants were executed at a property in Red Deer, another in Blackfalds, and a third in Sylvan Lake.
The seizure includes about 1,351 grams of cocaine, 353 grams of methamphetamine, 312 grams of fentanyl, about $27,000 in cash and a revolver.
Six individuals have been charged and remain in custody as a result of the drug seizure: Curtis Augustus, 38, of Grande Prairie, Aaron Capp, 33, of Cold Lake, Justin Goodhand, 32, of Medicine Hat, Ilija Jahura, 26, of Kelowna, B.C., Denni Martin, 33, of Surrey, B.C., and Shawna Willier, 29, of Edmonton.
Police said some of the individuals were known to police.
“The seizure of this amount, I think it can go without saying, the ties or the links to organized crime would be quite significant,” Glanville said.
Mayor Tara Veer said the investigation and the bust shows crime and drug trafficking know no boundaries. It’s a problem for not just Red Deer, but other Canadian communities as well.
“It’s not just our region, it’s not just our province, it’s Western Canada and our country as a whole,” said Veer, noting council’s No. 1 priority has been to crackdown on crime for a few years now.