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2 separate Edmonton investigations net $800K in ‘insidious’ drugs, firearms

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton police seized more than $800,000 worth of drugs and guns in two separate investigations recently. Officers say it will make a difference in the drug trafficking world. Julia Wong reports.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Police originally said 1,892 grams of fentanyl was seized in the second investigation. However, the EPS issued corrected information later Tuesday to say 1,892 grams methamphetamine was seized. The story has been updated with the correct information.

Three people are facing dozens of charges after two separate drug and firearms-related investigations in Edmonton.

The first investigation by the Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement Section (EDGE) led police to search a home in the Blackmud neighbourhood in southwest Edmonton.

At the home, police seized methamphetamine, brown and pink fentanyl, cocaine and Phenacetin with a total street value of nearly $443,000, police said in a media release Tuesday morning.

READ MORE: $800K in illegal drugs and weapons seized in 2 Edmonton trafficking cases

Police also seized $6,820 in case and several firearms, including rifles, a shotgun and a handgun.

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In total, the following items were seized:

  • 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamine – street value of $342,000
  • 348.2 grams of brown fentanyl – street value of $52,230
  • 51.9 grams of pink fentanyl – street value of $7,785
  • 332.8 grams of soft cocaine – street value of $33,280
  • 1.8 kg of phenacetin – street value of $7,200
  • Various drug trafficking paraphernalia (scales, cellphones, packaging, elastic bands, heat sealer, money counter)
  • A model XT-22 rifle
  • A Winchester Model 1894 rifle
  • A FLLI PIETTA 22 calibre rifle with a cut barrel
  • A 303 calibre rifle with a cut barrel
  • A Uzkon AS46 shotgun, with a magazine, and eight rounds of ammunition inside
  • A MODJ-15 rifle .223 calibre rifle with an unattached silencer and two empty magazines
  • A Ruger Mark 4 handgun
  • Machete, bow and arrow and hatchet
  • Two sets of body armour
  • Various rounds of assorted ammunition
  • $6,820

On Friday, Aug. 30, police arrested 29-year-old Jesse Hughes and 21-year-old Kaitlyn Byers, both of Edmonton.

Hughes is charged with a total of 23 offences, including three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime over $5,000, breaching a firearms prohibition, possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition readily available, seven counts of unsafe storage of firearms, five counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm and knowingly possessing a prohibited/restricted weapon.

Jesse Hughes, 29 of Edmonton, is facing 23 charges related to a drug investigation.
Jesse Hughes, 29 of Edmonton, is facing 23 charges related to a drug investigation. Credit, Facebook: Jesse Hughes

Byers is charged with a total of 19 offences, including three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime over $5,000, possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition readily available, seven counts of unsafe storage of firearms and seven counts of unauthorized possession of a prohibited/restricted weapon.

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Kaitlyn Byers, 21 of Edmonton, is facing 19 charges related to a drug investigation.
Kaitlyn Byers, 21 of Edmonton, is facing 19 charges related to a drug investigation. Credit, Facebook: Kaitlyn Byers

Edmonton police said Tuesday that Hughes and Byers are a couple.

READ MORE: $560,000 worth of drugs and cash seized from 2 Edmonton homes: ALERT

Second investigation nets more than $367,000 worth of drugs

The second investigation was led by the EPS Targeted Offender Section (TOS). It ended in the search of an apartment in the McConachie neighbourhood in northeast Edmonton on Aug. 25.

Police said officers seized $367,200 worth of drugs, along with a handgun and more than $11,000 in cash.

In total, the following items were seized:

  • 1,892 grams of methamphetamine – street value of $189,000
  • 1,000 grams of cocaine – street value of $70,000
  • 183 grams fentanyl (previously BTB heroin) – street value of $36,600
  • 1,561 grams marijuana – street value of $15,600
  • 5MLs of GHB – street value of $5
  • 14 Kg of phenacetin – street value of $56,000
  • 40 calibre handgun
  • A loaded magazine in the gun (chamber empty)
  • $11,139.40
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A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Julia Wong, Global News
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Julia Wong, Global News
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Julia Wong, Global News
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Julia Wong, Global News
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Wes Rosa, Global News
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.
A display of some of the more than $800,000 in illegal drugs and firearms seized in two separate Edmonton investigations. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Wes Rosa, Global News

Christopher Hartnett, 30, was arrested on Aug. 25 and charged with five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, proceeds of crime over $5,000, three firearms charges and five counts of breach of recognizance.

Christopher Hartnett, 30, is facing 14 charges related to a drug investigation.
Christopher Hartnett, 30, is facing 14 charges related to a drug investigation. Credit, Facebook: Chris Hartnett

Police say the drugs are ‘insidious’

Acting Insp. Pierre Blais is with the EPS Organized Crime Branch, which oversees EDGE and TOS.

He said it’s critical for the police service to disrupt the flow of dangerous drugs, and the police chief has been very clear that officers will be “relentless” on organized crime.

“These drugs are insidious and bring with them a plethora of other societal issues, including increased weapons and violent crime,” Blais said.

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“While these two investigations and subsequent arrests certainly highlight the excellent work of our investigators, they also underscore the increasing importance of our relationship with the public.

READ MORE: Meth, fentanyl, weapons sized after 6-month Edmonton drug investigation

“We’re grateful for the public’s trust, as they continue to reach out to police when they observe suspicious behaviour occurring in their neighbourhoods.”

While the two investigations took place during the same time frame, Edmonton police said they are not connected.