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Updated: Police seize $100,000 in drugs and four firearms in ALERT operation in Olds

33-year-old suspect facing 20 charges following two-month police drug operation
ALERT Insp. Brad Lundeen holding one of four firearms that was seized in a two-month drug operation that turned up more than $100,000 in drugs in Olds. A 33-year-old suspect is facing 20 charges. (Photo contributed)

More than $100,000 in drugs and four firearms were seized in Olds following a two-month investigation by Red Deer’s ALERT.

A 33-year-old suspect is facing 20 charges after Red Deer’s Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) organized crime officers along with RCMP officers from Olds and Sundre searched a pair of homes and a vehicle in Olds on Nov. 24.

Officers seized 285 grams of fentanyl, 201 grams of cocaine, 697 grams of methamphetamine, 2,900 ml of GHB, nearly 600 prescription pills, including 372 hydromorphine pills, four firearms and $8,445 in cash.

“This is a considerable seizure for a small-sized community like Olds,” said ALERT regional Insp. Brad Lundeen at a news conference at Red Deer RCMP’s downtown detachment on Tuesday morning.

“We are well aware and have heard all too often from community members about the impact of harmful drugs and related addiction issues,” said Lundeen.

“In small-sized rural communities, these issues are especially amplified.

“The whole community feels the consequences of drug addiction, whether it be from property crimes, vehicle theft, drug-related violence and health-care costs. These are issues that plague communities big and small.”

ALERT’s investigation began in September 2022 after the team received information about drug trafficking in Olds. About 15 ALERT officers, along with Olds detachment officers and a Sundre RCMP officer were involved in the operation.

Lundeen said the volume of drugs seized is a concern.

“One of the trends I’d be concerned with is, in this case, we are dealing with wholesale volumes of street drugs,” he said.

“We’re seeing methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine all in the same location. That just indicates a larger operation as it relates to criminal activity and drug trafficking activity.

“Especially fentanyl at wholesale trafficking levels is cause for concern based on the amount of overdoses and deaths related to fentanyl.”

Two of the four firearms had been reported stolen from separate locations in the province. The firearms will be submitted for further forensic testing and ballistics analysis at an Alberta firearms lab to determine if they were used in other crimes.

The recovery of the stolen weapons will help with investigations already underway connected with the thefts. The two pistols seized are restricted firearms that prior to the federal handgun freeze could be purchased with a restricted licence. The revolver and rifle, which had its barrel cut down, are prohibited weapons.

Lundeen said he could not provide details on what led to the drug operation.

“I can say, generally speaking, our ALERT investigations are intelligence-led. We work with all law enforcement agencies within the Province of Alberta and share intelligence with those agencies.

“And we do rely heavily on community support and community tips and encourage any community members who do see suspicious activity or have information as it relates to drug trafficking activities to report that to their local law enforcement agencies.”

Eric Becker is facing 20 charges, including six breach of court order-related offences, related to a similar ALERT investigation in February 2022. Becker, who has a lifetime firearms prohibition, made his first court appearance in Disbury provincial court on Monday.

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A Red Deer Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) operation led to the arrest of a suspect and the seizure of $100,000 in drugs and four firearms on Nov. 24. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
A Red Deer Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) operation led to the arrest of a suspect and the seizure of $100,000 in drugs and four firearms on Nov. 24. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)