A man faces additional charges after police seized drugs, weapons and stolen tools and equipment from a notorious Penhold residence.
Innisfail RCMP Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk said a search warrant on Saturday netted the stolen goods, including a replica firearm and rifle reported stolen from Three Hills. The charges came after a two-week investigation.
Since July, police received 70 complaints about suspicious people, vehicles and incidents at the residence. Police say the suspect is linked to 40 of those complaints.
“The community is very frustrated,” said Matechuk. “They are seeing all this activity. … We have received a lot of positive comments from the community and relief that we were able to make an arrest.”
Police will continue to keep an eye on the property.
Matechuk told reporters that the suspect has been arrested four times and charged five times since July. The most recent warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 5. His charges related to stolen property, failure to comply, driving without a valid licence and other offences.
Matechuk said the criminal activity at the home was not limited to Penhold.
The investigation was conducted by the newly-formed regional Property Crimes Tasks Force and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, a division of ALERT.
“A search warrant was also conducted in September,” said Matechuk. “The activity wasn’t confined to our jurisdiction. Combining our efforts with our task force really brought a quick resolution to making these arrests.”
Matechuk said the stolen goods were linked to crimes throughout Central Alberta, including in Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Innisfail. No dollar value for the stolen property was provided.
Police believe a few criminals are responsible for most of the property crime in the region, Matechuk said.
“Criminals do not have boundaries, so this task force was created to share information to better target the prolific offenders.”
While police were searching the Penhold house, the suspect pulled up in his vehicle and was arrested on outstanding warrants. Two other occupants were also arrested. A male youth, who was inside the home, was also arrested.
Police said they seized drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine from the vehicle.
Red Deer Supt. Scott Tod said this is a really good start for the task force because it has only been running for two weeks.
“There’s lots of targets out there,” said Tod. “It’s just a matter of looking at our intelligence and figuring out who is the best target.”
Gary Raymond Auvigne, 39, of Penhold is charged with failing to comply with undertaking, three counts of stolen property, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a stolen firearm, use of firearm during commission of an offence, use of replica firearm during commission of an offence and possession of what police believe to be crystal meth for the purpose of trafficking.
The other three men and youth were released. Police are still investigating and more charges may be laid.
Auvigne is in custody and will appear in Red Deer provincial court today.