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Fentanyl, cocaine, guns, and cash seized during million dollar bust in Calgary

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From Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

Focus on fentanyl paying off with $1 million Calgary bust

Calgary… A recent drug bust in Calgary took upwards of 20,000 doses of fentanyl off the street, part of a series of recent investigations by ALERT that were aimed at disrupting the opioid market.

ALERT Calgary seized nearly $1 million worth of drugs and six firearms after two homes were searched on April 16, 2021. ALERT seized 4.5 kilograms of fentanyl, along with methamphetamine, cocaine, and buffing agents. Two people were arrested and 39 charges were laid.

“Fentanyl has been a scourge in our communities and organized crime is responsible. ALERT will remain ruthless in our pursuit of drug dealers, and investigations like these, demonstrate our success in getting harmful drugs off the street,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT CEO.

The million-dollar seizure is the highlight, to date, of a recent string of investigative successes by ALERT Calgary. The unit has worked in tandem with policing partners, such as Calgary Police Service and RCMP to specifically target street-level opioid and meth sales.

“Integration is the key element of ALERT’s success. By working with our partners and sharing intelligence on emerging issues, ALERT’s specialized units are able spring into action and deliver meaningful results,” said Lakusta.

The following provides a brief synopsis and tally of recent investigative success, including ALERT’s most recent bust. The investigations are not believed to be linked:

April 16, 2021 two people were arrested and two homes were searched in Calgary. Nicholas Rybenko, 39, and Wessen Vandenhoek, 35, face multiple drug and firearms charges after ALERT seized:

  • 6 firearms;
  • 4,505 grams of fentanyl;
  • 353 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 13 grams of cocaine;
  • 17,146 grams of a suspected buffing agent;
  • $30,000 cash.

April 6, 2021 two homes in Calgary’s Beltline were searched and a 24-year-old man was arrested. Ady Zhang Chang was charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, after ALERT seized:

  • 134 grams of fentanyl;
  • 181 grams of cocaine; and
  • $1,250 cash.

March 29, 2021 a traffic stop was initiated on a suspect believed to be involved in street-level drug sales. ALERT located drugs inside the vehicle and its occupants were arrested. Amrudin Karimyar, 23, and Mohit Sandhu, 19, were charged, and ALERT seized:

  • 43 grams of fentanyl;
  • 9 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 14 grams of cocaine; and
  • $6,955 cash.

February 2, 2021 ALERT searched two homes in Calgary and arrested a 31-year-old man. Jaspreet Cheema faces a number of drugs and firearms charges after ALERT seized:

  • A loaded handgun;
  • 220 grams of fentanyl;
  • 12 grams of cocaine;
  • 1,912 grams of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • $12,970 cash.

Since 2018, ALERT teams from across the province have seized 18 kilograms of fentanyl powder and just over 250,000 fentanyl pills. Over 100 investigations have been conducted involving opioids.

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

Three Canadian teams to play in women's hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

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CALGARY — Canada’s top players in women’s hockey will finally get to play real games later this month in Calgary.

The Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) is holding Canada’s first Dream Gap Tour event in over a year May 24-30 at a Calgary venue yet to be announced.

Sixty players from the PWHPA’s three Canadian hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will play to determine the Canadian Secret Cup champion.

Secret, which announced a $1-million sponsorship of the PWHPA earlier this year, and the NHL’s Calgary Flames are the financial partners in the event.

Similar COVID-19 quarantine and testing protocols established by Hockey Canada for the world junior men’s hockey championship and national women’s and para hockey camps in Alberta will be incorporated.

Alberta tightened restrictions this week in the face of rising COVID cases, but Alberta Health has approved plans for the women’s tournament, PWHPA operations consultant Jayna Hefford said. 

“They believe the protocols, the quote-unquote bubble that’s been put in place, will secure the safety of our group and Albertans,” the Hockey Hall of Famer told The Canadian Press. “There will be no interaction with the public.”

While the PWHPA’s Calgary plans were in the works before Nova Scotia’s premier pulled the plug on this month’s women’s world championship, the Dream Gap Tour now offers an oasis in what’s been a pandemic hockey desert for the majority of players in the national women’s team pool.

The last real games many of them played came in a PWHPA tournament March 6-8, 2020 in Arizona. The last PWHPA event in Canada was Jan. 11-12, 2020 in Toronto.

The PWHPA’s American chapter has played a handful of games in the United States in recent weeks, although a two-day tournament in St. Louis was postponed from early April to May 16-17.

Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return from outside the country kept Canadian players from participating in the U.S. games.

Stricter health regulations across Canada also made skating together in groups impossible at times and planning actual games in the country a non-starter.

“It’s been so challenging,” Hefford said. “We had to try to encourage our players to be patient early on in the season, and even in early 2021 we continued to reiterate we would only host events if we could feel really comfortable about the safety of everyone involved.”

The PWHPA, which includes Canadian and U.S. national team players, rose from the ashes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League that folded in 2019. 

The goal of the roughly 150 players is a sustainable league that offers the competitive supports and training environments the male pros get, and wages that allow them to be professional athletes.

They’ve so far refused to join the six-team National Women’s Hockey League, which recently announced a doubling of each team’s salary cap to US$300,000 for next season. The Toronto Six is the lone Canadian club in that league.

The PWHPA held a series of Dream Gap Tour tournaments and events across North America in 2019-20 before the global pandemic brought the sporting world to its knees.

The pandemic continued to impede women’s hockey internationally and domestically.

The women’s world championship in Nova Scotia was cancelled a second straight year, although Hockey Canada is committed to hosting the tournament in August in a location yet to be named.

January’s world under-18 women’s championship in Sweden was called off, while a men’s under-20 champion was crowned in Edmonton that month.

The men’s world under-18 championship in Texas concludes Thursday. The men’s world championship is scheduled to open in just over two weeks on May 21 in Riga, Latvia.

The NHL, men’s minor pro leagues and major junior’s Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all operated in some form this winter.

Calgary’s Scotiabank, Toronto’s Sonnet and Montreal’s Bauer squaring off for a trophy and prize money can help revive the visibility of women’s hockey in Canada, Hefford said.

“We represent the players and we want to see them out there,” she stated.

“We have partners that have been so loyal and committed, so helpful in this process to move this forward, get the women back on the ice. 

“It seems like men’s hockey has gone on and we continue to hit these hurdles. 

“I hope this is a great opportunity for the women to play, but also for people to see the best of women’s hockey on the ice again.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canadian Natural reports $1.38B Q1 profit, record quarterly production

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CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported a first-quarter profit of nearly $1.38 billion compared with a loss a year ago.

The oilsands producer says the profit amounted to $1.16 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31.

The result compared with a loss of $1.28 billion or $1.08 per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue totalled $6.6 billion, up from $4.5 billion in the first three months of 2020, helped by higher oil and natural gas prices.

Production in the quarter was a record 1,245,703 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1,178,752 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2020.

On an adjusted basis, Canadian Natural says it earned $1.03 per diluted share compared with an adjusted loss of 25 cents per share last year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ)

The Canadian Press

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