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Alberta

15 year old girl rescued from Edmonton based sex trafficers

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News Release from Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Edmonton RCMP

Edmonton youth rescued from human trafficking

A 15-year-old girl has been rescued from human trafficking and ALERT has charged her perpetrators. Three Edmonton men have been charged with a total of 35 criminal offences.

ALERT’s Human Trafficking and Counter Exploitation unit has arrested three suspects for human trafficking with the most recent arrest coming on June 29, 2021. The suspects allegedly procured the youth for sexual services.

The arrests came following a two-month investigation when the Edmonton Police Service first received information about a 15-year-old girl being sexually exploited. The investigation revealed the youth was first groomed online, which escalated to nude photography, and eventually she was steered into the sex trade.

“Perpetrators are very skilled at grooming and manipulating their victims with gifts, money, affection; but it’s all a mirage. What this survivor endured was appalling and represents a heart-breaking set of circumstances,” Acting Staff Sergeant Chris Hayes, ALERT.

The survivor is receiving support and specialized care resources. Survivors of sex trafficking can call 211 for help.

Tyson Shaw, 24, Islam Montasser, 26, and Amir Idris, 30, have been jointly charged with:

  • Trafficking a person under the age of 18;
  • Material benefit;
  • Procuring a child;
  • Advertise sex services;
  • Arrange sexual offences against a child;
  • Invitation to sexual touching;
  • Making child pornography;
  • Distribute child pornography;
  • Possession of child pornography; and
  • Administer a noxious substance.

Additionally, Shaw has been charged with:

  • Sexual assault of a person under 18;
  • Sexual contact with a child;
  • Sexual counsel of a child; and
  • Indecent exposure to a person under 16.

Montasser was also charged with sexual assault of a person under 18.

Anyone with information about this investigation, or any human trafficking offence is encouraged to contact local police or Crime Stoppers.

ALERT’s Human Trafficking Counter Exploitation unit investigates domestic human trafficking involving sexual exploitation occurring in Alberta. The integrated unit also works in collaboration with agencies and organizations involved in rescuing and supporting survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

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

Alberta to bring in another five million bottles of children’s pain medication

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The Alberta government says it has secured another five million bottles of children’s medication to manage fever and pain.

Premier Danielle Smith says the government is working with Alberta Health Services and Health Canada to bring in the pediatric acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Parents across Canada have been scrambling to manage their children’s fever and pain as rates of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and influenza skyrocket amid a dire shortage of the medications.

Smith says overwhelmed parents can feel confident the government is moving as quickly as it can to bring in the medication and get it to pharmacies across the province.

The federal government also imported one million units of children’s acetaminophen — commonly known as Tylenol — across the country late last month.

Health Canada has distributed the children’s Tylenol to retailers and has also sent children’s ibuprofen — commonly known as Advil — to hospitals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

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Alberta

CannTrust CEO was warned over illicit pot growing: former compliance worker

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TORONTO — A former director of quality and compliance at CannTrust Holdings Inc. says he warned the company’s chief executive that Health Canada could levy penalties if the firm grew pot in unlicensed rooms at its Niagara, Ont. facility.

In the months leading up to Health Canada finding pot growing in unlicensed rooms, Graham Lee said Tuesday that he told Peter Aceto he couldn’t say what the exact consequences could be, but knew the government regulator had previously issued warning letters and handed out penalties.

For example, Lee said Health Canada reviewed CannTrust’s inventory more extensively after it discovered the company using a storage facility at its Vaughan, Ont. location contrary to licensing.

“In general, Health Canada was there every day checking up on the inventory,” Lee recalled.

His comments were made at the Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto in response to questioning from Dihim Emami, a lawyer representing the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in a case aiming to prove Aceto and other former CannTrust executives are guilty of several offences related to unlicensed growing at the Niagara facility.

Aceto, former CannTrust chairman Eric Paul and former vice-chairman Mark Litwin have pleaded not guilty to fraud and authorizing, permitting or acquiescing in the commission of an offence.

Litwin and Paul are also facing insider trading charges, and Litwin and Aceto are charged with making a false prospectus and false preliminary prospectus.

The OSC and Royal Canadian Mounted Police allege Litwin, Aceto and Paul did not disclose to investors that about 50 per cent of the growing space at CannTrust’s Pelham, Ont. facility in the Niagara area was not licensed by Health Canada. They say the men used corporate disclosures to assert that they were compliant with regulatory approvals.

They also allege that Litwin and Aceto signed off on prospectuses used to raise money in the U.S., which stated that CannTrust was fully licensed and compliant with regulatory requirements, and that Litwin and Paul traded shares of CannTrust while in possession of material, undisclosed information regarding the unlicensed growing.

The men no longer work for CannTrust and their lawyers are arguing their clients are all innocent.

Frank Addario, Aceto’s lawyer, previously told The Canadian Press his client was hired because of his financial acumen and track record. Before his time at CannTrust, Aceto was the president and chief executive of ING Direct Canada.

Addario also pointed out that CannTrust was subject to inspections and financial audits that uncovered no material issues.

“The evidence will show Peter Aceto behaved legally and with integrity during his time at CannTrust,” Addario said in an email.

However, Lee testified Monday that the growth of cannabis in unlicensed rooms was “very openly discussed” at the pot company.

“There was no hiding this. There was no denial of this,” he said.

On Tuesday, he reinforced those allegations, describing how he brought up his concerns about unlicensed activity during at least one meeting in winter 2019 that he recalled Aceto attended.

“I noticed that no one in the room was referring to or cognizant of the fact that these were unlicensed areas, so I reminded them,” Lee said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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