January 10, 2019 4:01 pm
Updated: January 10, 2019 4:24 pm

Calgary police arrest 32 in meth-related trafficking investigation

File: Calgary Police Service car.

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Calgary police have arrested 32 people in Calgary in a weeks-long drug trafficking investigation.

One-hundred and seventy-two charges — 91 Criminal Code violations and 81 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act violations — were laid after police carried out a three-week trafficking investigation in December dubbed “Daylight Initiative.”

Calgary police said the investigation was a response to skyrocketing methamphetamine use in the city.

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“Fentanyl is a community health issue. It affects families in a very tragic way,” Insp. Kevin Forsen said in a statement. “However, we believe meth is truly a crime and community safety issue.

“Meth is the driving force behind much of our property crime and random violence. It is also a significant officer safety issue due to the erratic behaviour of some users.”

One person arrested during the trafficking investigation — Natalie Pasqua — was previously convicted in the 2007 death of Gage Prevost.

READ MORE: Calgary CTrain killer sentenced in assault

Last year was the first year in which meth seizures in Calgary surpassed 1,000, with the number of seizures for 2018 at 108 per cent above the previous five-year average, police said.

A graph of drug seizures made by the Calgary Police Service since 2013.

Supplied / Calgary Police Service

Calgary police documented 6,573 cases of violence against people in 2018, a 10 per cent increase over 2017, with significant increases in assaults and “roll-job robberies.” While police were unable to determine how many of those instances are drug-related, a police spokesperson said the increase in violence is correlative to increased drug use in the city.

READ MORE: Meth-fueled violence leaves Calgary ER staff feeling unsafe

Police also said confirmed cases of meth-impaired driving in 2018 are expected to surpass the previous two years: four in 2016 and 13 in 2017.

“We can’t tackle this issue alone.

“It is going to take a huge collective effort to make an impact on the root causes of the meth issue – addictions and mental health being at the core.

“While we work with our partners in the social and health sectors, we are asking citizens to help us by reporting homes in their community that may be exhibiting signs of drug trafficking.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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