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ASIRT investigating actions of police during suicide of stolen vehicle suspect

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Alberta Serious Incident Response Team ASIRT

From the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team

Investigation into self-inflicted gunshot wound during contact with EPS

On Nov. 19, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a 19-year-old man that occurred that same day during contact with members of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).

At about 1:21 a.m., an EPS officer was on foot and directing traffic in the eastbound lanes of Whitemud Drive, between the 17 Street overpass and Anthony Henday Drive. The officer was on a special duty assignment to assist with moving an oversized load on the freeway. While the officer was directing traffic, a white Hyundai failed to stop as requested and struck the officer. The Hyundai continued eastbound on Whitemud Drive. After the collision, a civilian witness operating the pilot vehicle that was accompanying the load followed the Hyundai until a marked EPS vehicle arrived and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The Hyundai lost control on a curve on 17 Street, just north of Ellerslie Road, and came to a stop in the ditch.

The driver of the Hyundai, the 19-year-old man, exited the vehicle with a firearm. The man did not comply with commands to drop the firearm, and instead fired a single gunshot, fatally injuring himself. Additional EPS members, along with EMS, attended to the location and provided first aid to the man, before ultimately transporting him to hospital where he was pronounced dead. The man’s firearm, a loaded sawed-off 9-mm carbine, was recovered from the scene. Additional ammunition was recovered from the man’s vehicle. A second occupant of the vehicle, which was later determined to be stolen, was not injured during the incident. At this time there is no evidence to suggest that any police officer discharged a firearm during this incident.

EPS will maintain conduct of the investigation into the actions of the occupants of the Hyundai, while ASIRT’s investigation will examine the actions of police during this incident. With ASIRT’s investigation underway, no further information will be released at this time.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Crime

More than $4M in illegal drugs seized during EDGE investigation

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News release from Edmonton Police Service

A nine month EPS investigation has culminated with the arrest of four males and the seizure of an estimated $4.3M in drugs and buffing agents.

“This investigation and the corresponding results are the culmination of nine months of commitment by our members to keep a significant amount of illegal drugs off Edmonton streets,” said Staff Sgt. David Paton, of the Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Unit (EDGE). “The continued reduction of harm to our community is our number-one objective.”

Responding to intelligence received in the spring of 2021, the EPS Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Unit (EDGE) began investigating several individuals allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade throughout the city.

Working in conjunction with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), EDGE members successfully arranged several undercover drug buys with four suspects over the last six months.

In October, investigators identified two addresses of interest; the first being the residence of the primary suspect, David Vidal, 31, near 208 Street and 61 Avenue with the second being an alleged drug stash pad on Secord Boulevard.

Police seized significant amounts of drugs and weapons at the culmination of this investigation including:

  • Methamphetamine – 5,784.5 g (est. street value of more than $206,000)
  • Cocaine – 11,374 g(est. street value of more than $607,000)
  • Other drugs – 4,591 tablets (cocaine or Fentanyl-based); 25.7 g Ketamine (est. street value $1,028)
  • Buffering agent – 897.85 kg (est. street value $3,500,000.00)
  • Firearms & ammunition – 12 gauge shotgun, .300 win mag rifle, 800 rounds of ammo
  • Other weapons: 2 tasers, brass knuckles, 2 butterfly knives, 2 sets of brass knuckles
  • Cash: Approximately $21,000
  • Vehicle: 2018 Kia Sorrento

Investigators have since arrested and charged:

David Vidal, 31, of Edmonton: 19 offences including drug trafficking and possession, firearms and weapon-related offences, child endangerment, proceeds of crime and resisting arrest.

Nathaniel Cloney, 39, of Edmonton: 6 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime.

Matthew Lunty, 33, of Edmonton: 6 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime.

Abraham Chavez, 37, of El Salvador: 4 offences including drug trafficking and possession and proceeds of crime; a warrant for his arrest has also been issued.

Anyone with any information about this or any other crime is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Alberta

Two Million Dollar Drug Bust in Edmonton

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News Release from ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team)

Project Elk concludes with eight arrests, millions in drugs and assets seized

A two-year cross-Canada drug trafficking investigation has concluded with eight Edmonton suspects facing charges. ALERT seized roughly $2 million in drugs, cash, and proceeds of crime.

Project Elk was a lengthy investigation into an Edmonton-based drug trafficking network that was involved in drug importation. Eight suspects were arrested and charged in October 2021 with offences ranging from drug and firearms related, to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, to commission of an offence for a criminal organization.

The suspects are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on November 25, 2021.

“Project Elk will prove to be significant disruption to drug markets in Edmonton and other communities in northern Alberta. The negative impacts of drug trafficking are multi-faceted and connect back to societal harms such as gang-related violence, theft, property crimes, and healthcare implications,” said Inspector Kevin Berge, ALERT Edmonton.

ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team spearheaded the investigation in November 2019, and Project Elk also involved the assistance of the Edmonton Police Service, and specialized RCMP units from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

In August 2020, ALERT intercepted a six-kilogram cocaine shipment that originated in Toronto. The seizure precipitated a series of search warrant executions in which six homes in the Edmonton were searched and one home in Strathcona County.

Project Elk resulted in the seizure of:

  • Five firearms;
  • 10 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 17 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 4.7 kilograms of meth;
  • 2.9 kilograms of cannabis; and
  • $135,000 cash.

In addition, ALERT seized roughly $200,000 in offence related property, including three vehicles, jewelry, diamond rings, and Rolex watches.

“The drug trade doesn’t pay in the end. If you’re not shot, you’re ending up in jail, and you’re only hurting the people around you. It’s not the glamourous lifestyle that is fictionalized for the sake of TV and movies,” said Berge.

A total of 35 criminal charges have been laid against:

  • Tyshawn Walters, 29-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kashane Walters, 34-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kariyawasam Kariyawasam, 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Tyree Malcolm, 28-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Levi Collinge, a 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Boris Derpich, 43-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Stacey Sharpe, 35-year-old woman from Edmonton; and
  • Trevor Bellows, 31-year-old man from Edmonton.

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.

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.

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