Article submitted by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team
ICE responds to surge in record number of case files
ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit has begun the new year with a number of arrests across Alberta. Twenty-four suspects have been charged with 60 offences related to the online sexual exploitation of children.
After receiving a record number of case referrals in 2020, ICE has been collaborating with its policing partners across the province to make arrests. Last year, ICE experienced nearly a 40% increase in its number of case referrals with over 2,100 intakes.
- 2020-21 – 2,136;
- 2019-20 – 1,555;
- 2018-19 – 1,237;
- 2017-18 – 903;
- 2016-17 – 894;
- 2015-16 – 749.
“This is a concerning consequence of our digital dependency during the pandemic. ALERT has responded by directing more tools and resources to our ICE units and we are prepared to travel to every corner of the province in order to stop child sex predators,” said ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta.
“The sexual exploitation of children is a crime that tears at the fabric of society and preys on our most vulnerable. Increased provincial funding is enabling ALERT to double the size of its ICE unit, ensuring it has the tools and resources to track down predators who commit these heinous acts and bring them to justice,” said Hon. Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
With new provincial funding, ALERT has sought to double the size of the ICE unit with the addition of investigators, forensic technicians, analysts, and disclosure clerks, along with new technologies and software applications. With now more than 50 positions, Alberta’s ICE unit is one of the largest of its kind in Canada.
Between January 1 and March 31, 2021, ICE arrested 24 suspects. There is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed.
The arrests came as the result of investigative referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.
Each of the suspects was charged with at least one child pornography offence:
- Michael Antonio, 25-year-old man from Calgary;
- Curt Backlund, 48-year-old man from Grande Prairie;
- Brad Bailey, 19-year-old man from Marlboro;
- Brett Beer, 54-year-old man from Onoway;
- Eric Bultmann, 30-year-old man from Calgary;
- Kevin Dykstra, 35-year-old man from Barrhead;
- Brian Harrison, 35-year-old man from Calgary;
- Jeremy Henderson, 42-year-old man from Okotoks;
- Bryan Hillman, 39-year-old man from Calgary;
- Christopher Hoffner, 34-year-old man from Medicine Hat;
- James Kydd, 39-year-old man from Calgary;
- Mica LePage, 44-year-old man from Edmonton;
- Jordan MacDonald, 30-year-old man from Edmonton;
- Cris Marshall, 29-year-old man from Stettler;
- Stedson McDonald, 32-year-old man from Grande Prairie;
- James Merrison, 21-year-old man from Edmonton;
- Traline Munn, 44-year-old man from Cold Lake;
- Krishnamoort Nalla Naidu, 38-year-old man from Edmonton;
- Van Linh Nguyen, 24-year-old man from Edmonton;
- Ivan Scott, 47-year-old man from Cochrane;
- Jerry Lee Thompson, 47-year-old from Fort MacLeod;
- Hunter Tonneson, 20-year-old man from Blackfalds;
- Chase Viau, 23-year-old man from Edmonton; and
- Richard Westland, 45-year-old man from Medicine Hat.
During the investigations, ICE relied upon the assistance of a number of partner agencies, including: Calgary Police, Edmonton Police, Lethbridge Police, Medicine Hat Police, and RCMP detachments in Barrhead, Beaverlodge, Blackfalds, Cochrane, Edson, Fort MacLeod, Grande Prairie, Onoway, Okotoks, Slave Lake, Stettler, and Wood Buffalo.
Anyone with information about these investigations, or any child exploitation offence is encouraged to contact local police or cybertip.ca.
Alberta paleontologists find dramatic change in bite force as tyrannosaurs matured
Tyrannosaurs are well known as having been ferocious predators at the top of the food chain millions of years ago, but a study led by an Alberta-based researcher shows the reptiles didn’t start out life that way.
François Therrien, curator of dinosaur paleoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alta., said the study focused on tyrannosaur teeth and their dramatic change as they matured.
He collaborated with Darla Zelenitsky and Jared Voris of the University of Calgary, as well as Kohei Tanaka of the University of Tsukuba in Japan.
For the study, published this week in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, the researchers examined the lower jaws from the Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus, types of tyrannosaurs commonly found in Canada that predated the T. rex by millions of years.
“Our fossil records for those two species of tyrannosaurs is excellent,” Therrien said about the collection at the museum.
“We have so many specimens of those … that represent a full growth series from very young individuals that were probably three or four years of age all the way to fully grown adults that were over 20 years of age.”
By examining a wide range of fossils, the researchers were able to see a significant change in tooth size and jaw force once the tyrannosaurs reached about 11 years of age.
Feeding behaviour did not appear to change during the lifespan of the tyrannosaurs, because their jaws were adapted to capturing and seizing prey with their mouths, probably because the forelimbs were too short to grasp food, Therrien said.
“Tyrannosaurs were truly unique when you look at all the theropods,” he said. “They were atypical … because their bite and their skulls were their main weapon for killing prey.”
But what did change, he said, is the size of their teeth and their bite force.
A tyrannosaur at about three years of age was still a deadly predator, but it had smaller blade-like teeth that could only slice through flesh. The bite force, Therrien added, was about 10 per cent that of a fully grown alligator.
That means younger tyrannosaurs ate smaller prey and had to compete with other like-sized predators such as the Velociraptor.
Once tyrannosaurs turned 11, Therrien explained, they went through a growth spurt in which their teeth became larger and wider. By the time the reptiles were fully grown, their bite force was eight times more than that of an alligator.
And that meant their diets also changed.
“These teeth were better adapted for resisting twisting stresses either associated with biting of big prey or even crushing bone.”
Therrien said his study shows that young tyrannosaurs were distinct predators that occupied different ecological niches.
“Young tyrannosaurs were not just scaled-down versions of the mature parents,” he said. “They were creatures that actually had their own lifestyles.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2021.
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
JUST RELEASED: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy 2.0
Final weekend to see $880,000 dream home and buy tickets to win Red Deer Hospital Lottery
Frank Bonner, Herb on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ dies at 79
Armed man sought by police in northern Alberta dies shortly after arrest, RCMP say
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July
City of Red Deer1 day ago
Michener North lands selected as location for future multi-use aquatic facility
Top Story CP2 days ago
Separate fires destroy two Catholic churches in southern British Columbia
Alberta2 days ago
'Made in Calgary' approach will keep mask requirements past Alberta's total reopening
Creator1 day ago
Minority Government passes Bill C10 on internet freedom. Opponents pleading with Senate to block it.
Alberta2 days ago
Details released on fatal hunt for suspect in Alberta where police dog also died
Alberta2 days ago
RCMP search for suspect leads to multiple shoot outs over 24 hours. Suspect dies from wounds.
Alberta1 day ago
$1,200 Covid payment for 76,500 more Albertans including truck drivers, janitors, taxi drivers, security guards, farm workers, etc
Alberta2 days ago
A for Quebec, F for Alberta: Study rates Canadian governments on conservation