Red Deer’s ALERT unit is contributing to a great year for the law enforcement group – Red Deer Advocate


The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) Red Deer unit seized 30 firearms and brought 257 charges against 35 suspects, according to its 2020-21 annual report.

Despite the pandemic, it has been a busy year for ALERT, bringing together the RCMP, police officers, sheriffs and other agencies to tackle the worst crimes.

Alberta-wide ALERT officials seized $ 6.5 million in drugs, 98 firearms, and nearly $ 2 million in cash and other criminal proceeds. A total of 312 people were arrested and faced with 1,471 charges.

ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta said the organization doubled the size of its Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit to handle an “astounding” number of new case referrals, up 41 percent year over year.

The ICE unit rescued 17 children and arrested 145 people facing approximately 500 charges related to child pornography, child enticing, sexual assault and invitations to sexual contact, among others. More than 2,000 computers, tablets, cell phones, gaming devices and USBs were seized containing nearly 500,000 photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse.

A 33-year-old red deer man was among those arrested in January. He was identified by Saskatchewan ICE for allegedly sharing sexually explicit material and luring a young Regina girl through a social media application. The crimes go back to October 2019.

Another major operation by Red Deer RCMP and ALERT resulted in the seizure of large quantities of drugs, 15 firearms and 60 charges against five suspected drug dealers.

The investigation began in August 2020 and on January 27, four deer houses were searched.

Taken together, the two investigations seized nearly $ 90,000 worth of drugs and cash, including 593 grams of methamphetamine; 152 grams of fentanyl; 69 grams of cocaine; 1,416 milliliters of GHB; 28 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 65 illegal prescription pills, and $ 10,865 in cash.

Fifteen firearms were confiscated, including five rifles, five handguns, three shotguns and two self-made Zip pistols. The homemade weapons are sent to the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team of the RCMP for forensic analysis and ballistic testing.

There was also a central link in Alberta to a large bust that disbanded a drug trafficking network that stretched from Edmonton to the Bowden Institution. Eleven suspects, including two Bowden inmates, were arrested and more than $ 300,000 in drugs and cash were confiscated after homes in St. Albert and Edmonton were searched last December.

Other highlights of ALERT included the $ 7.3 million recovery of stolen vehicles by the Auto Crimes Unit, which was launched in April 2020.

The drug trafficking division seized 30 kilograms of cocaine, 38 kilograms of methamphetamines, three kilograms of fentanyl and 6,913 opioid or illegal prescription pills.

A newly formed Southwest Regional Property Crimes Unit got off to a strong start on recovering nearly $ 800,000 of stolen property, most of which was for sale to fund drug operations.

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