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Two Million Dollar Drug Bust in Edmonton

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News Release from ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team)

Project Elk concludes with eight arrests, millions in drugs and assets seized

A two-year cross-Canada drug trafficking investigation has concluded with eight Edmonton suspects facing charges. ALERT seized roughly $2 million in drugs, cash, and proceeds of crime.

Project Elk was a lengthy investigation into an Edmonton-based drug trafficking network that was involved in drug importation. Eight suspects were arrested and charged in October 2021 with offences ranging from drug and firearms related, to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, to commission of an offence for a criminal organization.

The suspects are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on November 25, 2021.

“Project Elk will prove to be significant disruption to drug markets in Edmonton and other communities in northern Alberta. The negative impacts of drug trafficking are multi-faceted and connect back to societal harms such as gang-related violence, theft, property crimes, and healthcare implications,” said Inspector Kevin Berge, ALERT Edmonton.

ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team spearheaded the investigation in November 2019, and Project Elk also involved the assistance of the Edmonton Police Service, and specialized RCMP units from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

In August 2020, ALERT intercepted a six-kilogram cocaine shipment that originated in Toronto. The seizure precipitated a series of search warrant executions in which six homes in the Edmonton were searched and one home in Strathcona County.

Project Elk resulted in the seizure of:

  • Five firearms;
  • 10 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 17 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 4.7 kilograms of meth;
  • 2.9 kilograms of cannabis; and
  • $135,000 cash.

In addition, ALERT seized roughly $200,000 in offence related property, including three vehicles, jewelry, diamond rings, and Rolex watches.

“The drug trade doesn’t pay in the end. If you’re not shot, you’re ending up in jail, and you’re only hurting the people around you. It’s not the glamourous lifestyle that is fictionalized for the sake of TV and movies,” said Berge.

A total of 35 criminal charges have been laid against:

  • Tyshawn Walters, 29-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kashane Walters, 34-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Kariyawasam Kariyawasam, 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Tyree Malcolm, 28-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Levi Collinge, a 39-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Boris Derpich, 43-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Stacey Sharpe, 35-year-old woman from Edmonton; and
  • Trevor Bellows, 31-year-old man from Edmonton.

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

Alberta ombudsman says she doesn't have the power to probe EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s ombudsman says she doesn’t have the power to investigate a complaint about the decision to consolidate ambulance emergency dispatch services in the province.

The complaint was filed by the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The municipalities have contended that the decision to consolidate the dispatch services to save the government money could put the lives of people in their communities at risk.

In a release late Friday, Ombudsman Marianne Ryan says the decision was technically made by Alberta Health Services, which her office is prohibited by law from investigating.

When the United Conservative government announced the consolidation in August 2020, then health minister Tyler Shandro said the province’s dispatch system would allow for better co-ordination of all ground ambulances and air resources.

At the time, the four mayors of the municipalities, none of whom are now still in office, said they were blindsided by the decision and would fight the change.

“While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction,” Ryan said in the release.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

Last February, a judge granted an interim injunction sought by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services after the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo stopped transferring emergency medical calls to the provincial dispatch centre.

The municipality, which includes Fort McMurray, stopped transferring calls after its council decided the provincial ambulance dispatch service was putting patients at risk due to delays and confusion.

A lawyer for Wood Buffalo had argued it was in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls through its own dispatch centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch

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Ombudsman Responds to Municipalities’ Complaint About Ambulance Dispatch

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman took the unusual step of publicly commenting on a complaint received involving Alberta Health Services.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

The Ombudsman Act authorizes the Ombudsman to investigate administrative decisions of government ministries and many related bodies, but the Act specifically prohibits her from investigating decisions of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” stated Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman. “In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

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