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Crime

Major bust nets a million in drugs and cash

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Project Embrace Makes 6 Arrests,
$1 Million in Seizures

Edmonton… A drug trafficking network that spanned Alberta and British Columbia has been dismantled. ALERT’s Project Embrace has resulted in the arrest of six suspects and the seizure of over $1 million worth of drugs and cash.

Project Embrace was a nine-month investigation that targeted all facets of the suspected criminal network’s operation, including supply, distribution, and street-level sales. ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team led the investigation with the assistance of British Columbia’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and Bonnyville RCMP.

More than six kilograms of cocaine and two kilograms of methamphetamine were seized, along with more than $342,000 in cash. In addition, half a dozen suspects were charged, with the most recent arrests taking place in late June 2019.

Project Embrace collected evidence to suggest an Edmonton-based group coordinated the supply of drugs from British Columbia, and then facilitated distribution in Alberta – specifically in the communities of Bonnyville, Lloydminster, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Little Smoky and Frog Lake.

Investigators allege that Matthew Castle was at the centre of the Edmonton group, which involved family members and associates. Castle allegedly conspired with B.C.-based David Davinder Lally and Jacob Fralin to import drugs into Alberta.

Six homes were searched, including four in Edmonton and two Vancouver apartments. In total, investigators seized:

  • 6.5 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 2 kilograms of methamphetamine;
  • 18 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • $342,982 cash; and
  • a 2007 Volvo XC90 with a hidden mechanized compartment.

The following suspects were each charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs, in addition to a range of other offences:

  • Matthew Castle, 29, from Edmonton;
  • Terri Lynn Castle, 50, from Edmonton
  • Christian Castle-Wasson, 18, from Edmonton;
  • David Davinder Lally, 40, from Vancouver;
  • Jacob Fralin, 32, from Vancouver; and
  • Ryan Rautiainen, 26, from Lloydminster.

Project Embrace began in October 2018 when Bonnyville RCMP developed criminal intelligence about drug trafficking taking place in the area.

In conjunction with Project Embrace, Bonnyville RCMP arrested a number of street-level dealers in separate investigations. Each of the following was charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking:

  • Charlie Houle, 24, from Bonnyville;
  • Brent Coell, 18, from Bonnyville;
  • Rayden Hill, 22, from Bonnyville;
  • Michael Pownall, 36, from Bonnyville;
  • Britney Coulombe, 27, from Bonnyville;
  • Wayne Friesen, 27, from Bonnyville;
  • Tyanna John, 21, from Bonnyville; and
  • Dustin Gellerman, 27, from Bonnyville.

A number of other police agencies were involved in Project Embrace, including Edmonton Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, RCMP K-Division, Kamloops RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, Cold Lake RCMP, Elk Point RCMP, Kitscoty RCMP and St. Paul RCMP.

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. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Board Member Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) Musician, Photographer, Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

Multiple guns taken off the street as patrol officer spots stolen vehicle

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From St. Albert RCMP

St. Albert RCMP seize firearms and arrest one male

On September 23, 2020, at approximately 11:00 p.m., a St. Albert General Duty member was conducting patrols in the Century Casino parking lot and observed a Ford Explorer parked in an unlit area of the property with a male occupant in the driver’s seat.  The RCMP member went to investigate and determined the vehicle was stolen.

The male driver was arrested and identified as Wesley Aubichon (36) of Edmonton.  Inside the vehicle, the police noticed in plain view a lot of new household items still in boxes along with ammunition for a shot gun.  The registered owner of the vehicle indicated that none of the property inside the vehicle was theirs and asked police to remove & secure all the items before they took the vehicle home that night.

Police emptied the contents from the vehicle, while doing so, located the following:

  • Remington 12 Gauge 870 Shotgun (loaded)
  • 3 Huntgroup Arms Shotguns
  • Ranger Shotgun
  • Ammunition
  • Metal Baton
  • Drugs (believed to be Heroin)
  • Jewelry
  • Canadian Currency
  • Security Safe
  • Numerous Electronic/Household Goods
  • Audio Equipment
  • Numerous Cell/Mobile Phones
  • Police Equipment/Tactical Vest
  • Numerous sets of keys
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Buck Knife
  • Tools

Wesley Aubichon was charged with the following Criminal Code offenses:

  • Possession of Weapon For Dangerous Purpose X 1
  • Possession of Prohibited or Restricted Firearm With Ammunition X 1
  • Unauthorized Possession In Motor Vehicle X 2
  • Possession Contrary To Mandatory Prohibition Order X 2
  • Unauthorized Possession of Firearm X 1
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime X 1
  • Possession of Break-In Instrument X 1

Wesley Aubichon was also charged with:

  • Possession of Body Armour Without a Valid Permit X 1 (Body Armour Control Act)
  • Possession of Controlled Substance X 1 (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act)

Following a Judicial Hearing, Wesley Aubichon was remanded into custody and appeared in St. Albert Provincial Court on Sept 28, 2020, where bail was denied.  His next court appearance is on October 19, 2020 (St. Albert Provincial Court).

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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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october, 2020

sat03oct9:30 am4:30 pmCharity Checkstop9:30 am - 4:30 pm MST Taylor Drive, North of 32 ST, South of 43 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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