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Alberta

Internet Child Exploitation unit arrests over 2 dozen Albertans for online child sexual exploitation offences

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From the ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit

26 Albertans Charged in Online Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit has arrested 26 suspects from across Alberta for offences related to online child sexual exploitation.

Between June 20 and September 17, 2020, ICE has charged 26 suspects with 63 offences. Most of the arrests came as the result of investigative referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.

“In Alberta, those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Government of Alberta will ensure our law enforcement has the tools and resources to track down child predators and bring them to justice,” said Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “On behalf of all law-abiding Albertans, I thank ALERT and the law enforcement organizations across the province that worked tirelessly to arrest and charge these criminals. Alberta’s justice system is here for all Albertans, especially for children victimized by sexual predators.”

“The internet isn’t anonymous and these arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel to all corners of the province to make arrests, put predators behind bars, and keep kids safe,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT Chief Executive Officer.

There is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed. Each of the suspects was charged with at least one child pornography offence:

  • a 16-year-old young offender from Sherwood Park;
  • Kevin Borchert, a 29-year-old man from Sherwood Park;
  • David Cadieux, a 27-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Joseph Cadrain, a 32-year-old man from Strathmore;
  • Gary Campbell, a 28-year-old man from Lamont;
  • Michael Ciesla, a 32-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Michael Courtepatte, a 44-year-old man from Athabasca;
  • Victor Delage, a 29-year-old man from Wainright;
  • Gerald Donel, a 57-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Brian Farris, a 40-year-old man from Grande Prairie;
  • Humberto Ferreyra, a 51-year-old man from Lake Louise;
  • Coby Franz, a 42-year-old man from Alder Flats;
  • Sean Giles, a 41-year-old man from Lethbridge;
  • Brock Hann, a 21-year-old man from Morinville;
  • Richard Lepchuk, a 59-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Christian Meier, a 52-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Troy Melnyk, a 49-year-old man from Spruce Grove;
  • Stephen Miehe, a 28-year-old man from Cardston;
  • Alasdair Mills, a 61-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • David Peeke, a 45-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Christopher Piers-Hanley, a 31-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kalon Specht, a 30-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Andrew Stredick, a 30-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Charles Tadashore, a 43-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Laurence Thrasher, a 40-year-old man from Edmonton; and
  • Michael Vandermay, a 52-year-old man from Calgary.

During the investigations and subsequent arrests, ICE worked in collaboration with a number of police agencies, including: Caribou Child and Youth Centre; Calgary Police Service; Edmonton Police Service; and various RCMP detachments, including Grande Prairie, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County, Wainright, Breton, Strathmore, Olds, Morinville, Cardston, Lake Louise, Fort Saskatchewan, and Athabasca.

ICE is an integrated team that includes members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP. ICE investigates offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the Internet, voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18, and child sex trade/tourism.

ICE speculates that the rise in the number of investigative referrals is likely in part related to digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation measures.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has information on its site dedicated to supporting families during the COVID-19 crisis, including resources for families and caregivers; schools and educators; and child-serving organizations. This information is available at: https://protectchildren.ca/en/resources-research/supporting-you-through-covid-19/

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

Watchdog agency asked to look into man’s death following arrest at LRT station

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CALGARY — Alberta’s police oversight agency has been asked to investigate a death that police say happened after a suspect was arrested at a light-rail train station.

Calgary police say in a news release that they were called to the Marlborough CTrain station on Friday for reports of a man in possession of an airsoft gun.

They the man was cooperative when police arrived and they took him into custody without incident, and they say the arrest was captured on a body-worn camera.

He was charged with breach-related offences, police say, and was transported to Spyhill Services Centre where they say he was cleared by a medic and placed in a holding cell.

Police say that during a routine check of the cells at 8 p.m. the man was eating his meal, but at the next check he was found unresponsive.

They say that despite “significant lifesaving efforts” he was pronounced dead at approximately 8:40 p.m.

“We have recently undergone significant work to ensure that our standards are in line with current best practices for in-custody care,” police said in the news release.

“However out of an abundance of caution, we will be reviewing this incident to inform our procedures.”

Police said that as is standard practice with a death in custody, the Director of Law Enforcement was notified and has directed the oversight body, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, to investigate.

Calgary police said in the release that it “has extensive systems and protocols already in place to ensure the care of arrestees, including medical clearance checks for every arrestee prior to being admitted into a cell, searches of individuals before being taken into custody, CCTV systems to monitor people in custody and regular cell checks.”

Police said that since it’s now an active investigation by the watchdog agency, it won’t release further details.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

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CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $23.6 billion.

Boards of directors at both companies have approved the deal that’s expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The merged Cenovus Energy Inc. will remain headquartered in Alberta.

Husky shareholders will receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share.

The Calgary-based companies say in a joint announcement that the combined company will be the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer, based on total company production.

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix will head the combined company.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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october, 2020

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