From the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team
Transition, Triumph for ALERT in 2019
While changes were afoot, including a new CEO, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams still managed to achieve one of its most successful years ever in 2019.
Over the calendar year, ALERT teams across the province laid 1,402 criminal charges against 241 suspects; took 92 firearms out of the hands of gang members and drug dealers; seized more than $4 million in proceeds of crime; and removed nearly $13 million worth of cocaine, fentanyl and methamphetamine from the streets of Alberta communities.
“Since being appointed chief executive officer in August 2019, I’ve been very impressed with ALERT’s operations and the results the organization is able to achieve,” said ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta. “It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing landscape, but our front-line investigators and support staff behind the scenes do exceptional work to keep up and deliver the results Albertans expect.”
ALERT is mandated to address organized and serious crime across Alberta, with regional offices located in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer. A breakdown of statistics by region for the 2019 calendar year is available on ALERT’s website and YouTube channel.
The biggest highlight of the year for ALERT was Project Coyote, a joint investigation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that resulted in record amounts of cocaine and fentanyl pills seized. All told, over the course of two years, Project Coyote resulted in the seizure of $15 million worth of drugs, including 81.5 kilograms of cocaine in Houston, Texas, and 250,000 fentanyl pills in a Calgary apartment.
“Project Coyote was a lengthy, complex investigation, and I applaud our team in Calgary for their ongoing commitment to the investigation,” Lakusta said. “It’s a significant bust, and a great example of the efforts taken by our teams to fight organized crime.”
Some of ALERT’s other successes in 2019 include: outlaw bikers arrested for drug trafficking in Red Deer; a firearms straw purchaser foiled in Grande Prairie; a B.C.-Edmonton drug pipeline cut off; a record meth seizure in Medicine Hat; an arrest made in Lethbridge in a series of vehicle thefts; and two children being rescued as result of a child exploitation investigation.
A compilation of highlights from 2019 is available on ALERT’s website.
With new funding foreshadowed in the recent provincial budget and ALERT’s successes from 2019 to build upon, Lakusta is looking forward to expanding on the organization’s important work in 2020.
“We are excited to enhance opportunities to make communities across Alberta safer,” Lakusta said. “By working closely with other law enforcement agencies and community partners, we will continue to work toward our goals of disrupting and dismantling organized crime.”
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.
Judge sides with Enbridge Inc. in Michigan’s latest effort to halt Line 5 pipeline
A judge in Michigan has ruled in favour of Enbridge Inc. in the company’s long-running dispute with the state over the Line 5 cross-border pipeline.
In her ruling, Judge Janet Neff says the case belongs in federal court — a blow to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s bid to shut down the pipeline.
It’s the second time in nine months that Neff has sided with Enbridge on the question of jurisdiction.
Whitmer has been trying since November 2020 to shut down Line 5 for fear of a spill in the Straits of Mackinac, where the pipeline crosses the Great Lakes.
Proponents, including Canada’s federal government, call Line 5 a vital and indispensable source of energy for Ontario, Quebec and several Midwestern states.
Environmental activists fear an anchor strike or technical failure could trigger a catastrophe in one of the area’s most important watersheds.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.
Reports: Flames closing in on signing UFA forward Nazem Kadri
The Calgary Flames are closing in on a deal to sign unrestricted free agent Nazem Kadri, according to multiple media reports.
Sportsnet reported the deal is for seven years at US$7 million per season.
The Flames, according to Sportsnet and TSN, are moving forward Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens to create salary cap space for Kadri’s contract. Details of that trade have not been released.
The 32-year-old Kadri was one of the biggest names available in free agency after an All-Star season with Colorado that ended with the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup.
Kadri had 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 games for the Avalanche in 2021-22.
He added 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 16 playoff games, including the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against Tampa Bay. That was his return to action after being injured in Game 3 of the Western Conference final after being hit from behind by Edmonton forward Evander Kane.
Kadri’s signing would be the latest chapter of a chaotic off-season for the Flames.
Calgary lost leading scorer and Hart Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets early in free agency, then was informed that star forward Matt Tkachuk would not sign a contract extension after the upcoming season.
The Flames dealt Tkachuk to Florida for a package that included forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who had 115 points last season, and defenceman Mackenzie Weegar.
The Flames then locked up Huberdeau long-term with an eight-year, US$84-million contract extension.
Monahan, selected sixth overall by the Flames in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has played nine seasons in Calgary. The three-time 30-goal scorer tallied just eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 65 games last season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 222.
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