It has been a busy year for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), seizing more than $30-million worth of drugs.
Below is a list of the of the largest Alberta seizures of 2015, ordered by the street value of drugs seized:
Police arrested a dozen people and seized millions of dollars worth of drugs following a year-long investigation into a local organized crime group. Investigators said the cocaine and fentanyl seizures were the largest of their kind by ALERT. Donna Thanh Phoung Tran, a 33-year-old woman from Calgary and Ronald Gene Wan Wong, a 35-year-old man from Calgary were among 12 people arrested. Police suggested the group operated under their leadership and had been supplying drugs throughout the province.
Police also seized a variety of weapons, including a Glock handgun that had been previously reported stolen and a TEC-9 handgun.
The seizure included: 40 kilograms of cocaine, 11,597 fentanyl pills, 1.2 kilograms of methamphetamine, 545 grams of heroin, 182 grams of MDMA, 450 grams of marijuana, 60 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent, and $600,000 cash believed to be proceeds of crime.
ALERT discovered one of the largest ever marijuana grow-operations in Alberta’s history in a rural barn near Stettler, east of Calgary, in October.
A total of 3,284 plants, worth an estimated street value of $4-million were removed, along with three kilograms of dried bud that had been harvested recently.
The three-stage operation was powered by an industrial-sized generator. Police also seized two pickup trucks believed to be used for smuggling drugs, which had hidden compartments located in the slip tanks.
The next-largest seizure of plants in Alberta from an indoor grow op happened in December 2012, when ALERT seized 2,233 plants from a home west of Edmonton in Parkland County.
The biggest outdoor grow-op ALERT has dismantled involved 3,854 plants seized in Drumheller in August 2010.
3. $2.5-million seizure from grow-op in Olds, Feb. 12, 2015
ALERT seized 2,137 marijuana plants from a rural property near Olds, as well as $40,000 cash which investigators said was the proceeds of crime.
RCMP said the home was authorized as a medicinal grow-op site but the number of plants on site grossly exceeded the terms and conditions of the licence.
Three men and two women were charged. Four children were also found inside the home at the time of the search. The house was deemed uninhabitable by Alberta Health inspectors.
ALERT said this investigation targeted the alleged drug trafficking networks of Patrick Felix, 34, and Jason Mulley, 31. They were among seven people arrested and are accused of being the “head of a complex cocaine and fentanyl trafficking operation that spanned northern Alberta and included Fort McMurray and Edmonton,” according to ALERT.
During the searches, large amounts of cocaine (7.2 kilograms) and fentanyl (2.908 pills) were seized along with marijuana (26.3 kilograms), psilocybin (198 grams) and $23,150 cash believed to be the proceeds of crime. Two firearms and a large inventory of vehicles were also taken.
ALERT Edmonton seized seven kilograms of cocaine as well as other drugs at homes in southeast Edmonton. The cocaine was being mixed and packaged to sell around the capital region, authorities said. 567 grams of MDMA, 10 kilograms of marijuana and $6,365 cash believed to be proceeds of crime was also seized.
A huge haul of drugs, with an estimated value of $585,000, was taken by ALERT Edmonton from a home in the Montrose neighbourhood. The seizure included 1.47 kilograms of cocaine, 2.15 kilograms of crack, 655 grams of methamphetamine, 98 grams of heroin, 1.65 kilograms of hashish, 213 grams of marijuana, 46 grams of psilocybin, 24.8 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent and $55,710 cash believed to be proceeds of crime.
7. $545,000 seized in Edmonton, Mar. 25, 2015
ALERT seized 2.6 kilograms of cocaine, 1,841 fentanyl pills, 1 kilogram of methamphetamine, 468 grams of MDA and $91,000 cash believed to be proceeds of crime.
ALERT seized 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 875 grams of methamphetamine, 27 grams of heroin, 263 fentanyl pills, 49 grams of cannabis resin, 135 grams of a cocaine buffing agent and $3,935 cash believe to be proceeds of crime.