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Alberta

Major drug haul; ALERT seizes $3 million in drugs and cash

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Post submitted by Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)

Three million dollars’ worth of drugs and cash was seized from two Calgary homes, including what is believed to be the province’s largest seizure of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

On April 27, 2021 ALERT Calgary’s organized crime and gang team concluded a short-term investigation with a record drug haul. ALERT seized enough methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and GHB to equal an estimated 100,000 doses.

The GHB seizure of 113.5 litres is believed to be the largest seizure of its kind in Alberta.

Meanwhile, the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl pills seized ranks amongst ALERT Calgary’s biggest busts.

“The totality of what was seized is staggering, and represents a high degree of community harm. Behind so many doses are crimes committed to feed that addiction; be it property crimes, thefts, frauds, and robberies, and all feeding into social disorder,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT CEO.

In total, ALERT seized roughly $3 million worth of drugs and cash:

  • 113.5 litres of GHB;
  • 22.3 kilograms of methamphetamine;
  • 18,000 fentanyl pills;
  • 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl;
  • 4.1 kilograms of cocaine; and
  • $386,220 cash.

GHB is colourless and odourless, and is commonly referred to as the “date-rape drug” but is usually abused as a club drug. In July 2013 Edmonton Police Service seized 106 litres of GHB, which at the time, was believed to be Alberta’s largest seizure.

ALERT’s investigation is ongoing and additional charges are being contemplated. To date, 14 drug-related charges have been laid against three suspects:

  • Ashley Stanway, 30-year old from Calgary;
  • Rayann Blackmore, 22-year old from Calgary; and
  • Harmandeep Tiwana, 28-year old from Calgary.

ALERT began its investigation just a month prior after receiving information about suspected drug trafficking activity in the Calgary region.

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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Alberta

Somali-Canadian group says another woman wearing a hijab attacked in Edmonton

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EDMONTON — The chair of a group representing Somali Canadians in Edmonton says there has been another local attack on a woman who was wearing a hijab.

Jibril Ibrahim alleges the Somali-Canadian woman was walking by herself in northeast Edmonton on Friday evening when an unknown man grabbed her by her neck and pushed her down to the sidewalk before fleeing the scene.

He says her face was bloodied, some of her teeth are loose and she spent Friday night in hospital.

Police said in an email they are investigating a report of a Black woman in her 50s who was walking in the area at around 9 p.m. when she was assaulted by an unknown suspect.

They said she received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries at a local medical centre and then reported the incident to police.

Ibrahim says the alleged attack, the latest in a spate of similar incidents, has left the woman badly shaken.

“She’s traumatized,” Ibrahim said in a phone interview after visiting with the woman on Sunday, noting she’s afraid now to leave her home alone.

He said she wasn’t up to being interviewed on Sunday, and was frightened to appear on camera.

Edmonton has seen a number of alleged attacks on Muslim women in recent months.

City police say two women wearing hijabs were sitting in a mall parking lot in December when a stranger shattered a window, assaulted the passenger as she tried to flee and then assaulted the second woman when she tried to help. A man faces charges of assault and mischief in that case.

In March, a man was charged after three allegedly hate-motivated attacks on women in Edmonton.

In the first, police said the Black victim was followed inside a convenience store on Jan. 18 and allegedly assaulted.

The second and third attacks took place on the same day in early February. One woman was wearing a hijab and the other wore a burqa.

A 44-year-old man faces three counts of uttering threats and three of assault in those incidents.

“What we are aware of is only what has been reported to police. There is more than that, and a lot of people are afraid to report it, afraid that someone is going to follow them to their house,” Ibrahim said.

Police said in their email that their Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has been told about the most recent incident on Friday, but its Investigative Response Team is still handling the case.

The incidents, as well as the deaths of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., earlier this month, have many Canadian Muslims on edge.

Ibrahim says the most recent victim has been in Canada for 30 years, and while she’s been harassed in shops and other places, she’s never experienced such violence.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Friday that groups that experience hate crimes will soon be able to apply for grants to pay for security upgrades.

Ibrahim is calling for the bar for hate crimes to be lowered.

“So far, it looks like more or less, our leadership from the prime minister to the mayor, they’re hoping that these people will go away. But it doesn’t work that way,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2021.

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

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EDMONTON — Alberta is launching a multimillion-dollar lottery in a bid to encourage more residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Premier Jason Kenney unveiled some details of the “Open for Summer Vaccine Lottery” in a video posted to his Twitter account.

The video, shot at a mass immunization centre in Edmonton, shows Kenney lamenting the lack of crowds at the facility and opining that not enough Alberta residents are seeking protection against COVID-19.

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other unspecified prizes. 

He says the first instalment will be open to Albertans 18 or older who get at least their first dose of vaccine within a week of the day the province partially immunizes 70 per cent of the population.

He says the first grand prize draw will take place the day the province enters Phase 3 of  its pandemic recovery plan, adding more details will be announced in the coming days.

“We need to just nudge those who haven’t gotten around to getting their vaccines yet,” Kenney said in the video posted Saturday.

“After all, we’ve had to spend billions of dollars in our health-care system and through supporting people through the past 16 tough months. So if we can just keep pushing up those numbers of people who are vaccinated, that will easily pay for itself in future savings.”

As of Friday, the province said almost 69 per cent of those 12 and older had received at least one dose of vaccine. About 729,000 people have had two shots.

Alberta is not the first jurisdiction to unveil incentives to make residents roll up their sleeves for a vaccine shot. Earlier this week, Manitoba announced it would be holding two lottery draws this summer with $100,000 prizes and $25,000 youth scholarships

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2021

The Canadian Press

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