Three people are facing charges after police seized more than 3,700 fentanyl pills during two separate raids in Calgary last month.
The first seizure took place in the northwest community of Hillhurst on Oct. 26. Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) searched an apartment after the arrest of 22-year-old Cody Bryant, who was taken into custody at a traffic stop two days prior.
Police said 943 fentanyl pills were seized after a search of Bryant’s residence, as well as $6,000 in cash.
Bryant is charged with several offences including possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and breach of recognizance – which stemmed from a previous firearms investigation.
The second seizure happened at a home the southwest community of Killarney on Oct. 28.
According to ALERT, 2,771 pills were located in a vehicle and at a home identified as a potential “stash site” during the arrest of two Lethbridge men the week before. The men were taken into custody in Aldersyde, Alta. on Oct. 20 after 584 fentanyl pills were picked up from the Calgary area.
Police allege the Killarney home was being used as a cocaine conversion lab, and said 23 grams of cocaine and 135 grams of a suspected buffing agent were found inside.
ALERT arrested Sofonyas Fkade, 24, and Bereketab Gedecho, 30. Fkade is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, production of a controlled substance and possession of property obtained by crime. Gedecho is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and production of a controlled substance.
A total of 3,714 fentanyl pills were found in the two seizures; the seizure in Killarney was the fourth largest in Alberta’s history.
“As a result of these two investigations, a significant amount of fentanyl was prevented from hitting the streets,” Staff Sgt. Keith Hurley said at a Wednesday news conference. “Every one of those pills represents a direct threat to the citizens of Calgary, the livelihood and the well-being of Calgarians.”
“We routinely hear stories of families and friends being ripped apart by this horrible drug, and it’s heart wrenching to watch.”
Hurley admitted fentanyl has posed a “substantial” challenge for police. When asked if there has been an increase in fentanyl seizures, Hurley said they are seeing much more of the drug than they did a few years ago.
“It definitely seems to be on the rise. We’ve had a lot of incidents as of late involving fentanyl, and it’s a big concern for us.”
“To date, ALERT has seized nearly 40,000 fentanyl pills from communities big and small across this province,” Hurley said. “ALERT will continue to prioritize fentanyl investigations, and is actively targeting criminal groups that import fentanyl and its precursor drugs.”
BELOW: Alert’s largest fentanyl seizures
11,597 – Calgary – Feb 2015
3,200 – Leduc County – Dec 2015
2,800 – Fort McMurray – Jun 2015
2,771 – Calgary – Oct 2016
2,000 – Edmonton – Jun 2016
1,866 – Grande Prairie – Oct 2014