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Joint RCMP operation seizes guns, drugs and cash in B.C. and Alberta

Springbrook among communities RCMP target to break up drug trafficking and money laundering ring

Nearly $700,000 in drugs and cash were seized in an interprovincial joint forces investigation that originated in Lloydminster.

An investigation began in May 2021 following a drug seizure in Lloydminster, as part of a joint endeavor from (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) and Lloydminster General Investigation Section (GIS).

From there, ALERT launched Project Deception and sought to work up the drug supply line and uproot the Edmonton and Kelowna-based suppliers, says ALERT in a Thursday news release.

Drug seizures were staggered over the course of the investigation and took place in Springbrook, Lloydminster, Edmonton, and Kelowna. and Vernon in B.C. Multiple homes were searched on June 1 as part of the investigation. A number of suspects from both provinces have been identified.

Police seized two handguns with ammunition, $571,000 in drugs, $101,888 in cash and another $147,872 in assets, including jewelry. Drugs seized included 3,600 grams of cocaine, 3,055 grams of suspected buffing agents, 1,223 grams of methamphetamine and 275 grams of suspected fentanyl.

Project Deception is an ongoing investigation led by ALERT Lloydminster’s organized crime and gang team in partnership with Lloydminster RCMP, B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime, Edmonton Police Service, RCMP in Kelowna and Vernon and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

“Drug trafficking doesn’t occur in isolation. It is deep-rooted and presents a multitude of threats that ultimately impact many communities,” said ALERT CEO Supt. Marc Cochlin. “The tenacity exhibited by our Lloydminster team showcases the success of ALERT’s integrated model and the benefits of policing partnerships across borders to disrupt complex criminal networks.”

Supt. Duncan Pound, who is with B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said working with ALERT is “critical to both co-ordinated intelligence sharing and significantly amplifying enforcement efforts against those involved in organized crime.”

The results of the investigation “represent a significant enforcement success for BC, Alberta and Canada.”

Supt. Brent Soper, of B.C. RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit said that “as we continue our fight against money laundering and drug trafficking, collaboration between policing partners is critical, as organized crime knows no borders. By adding Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Team support to ALERT’s investigation, we were able to help disrupt the operations of this inter-provincial crime group.”

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

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