Calgary police say the leader of an alleged drug trafficking ring known as “The Family” has been arrested and charged following a complex six-month-long investigation.
More than 500 people are believed to be involved or connected to The Family’s drug distribution network as either sellers or buyers, according to police.
In addition, police say some 80 violent incidents in Calgary over the past year and a half are thought to be connected to The Family.
“The group is comprised of individuals with addictions and other vulnerabilities, who are primarily homeless and mostly reside in and around the downtown area,” police said in a Friday news release.
On Wednesday, officers searched two vehicles and four homes throughout the city — in the 0-100 block Lake Sylvan Close Southeast, the 500 block of 8 Street Northeast, the 1100 block of 8 Avenue Northeast and the 1700 block of 26 Avenue Southwest.
According to police, the searches led to the following items being seized:
- 1,006 grams of methamphetamine
- 232 grams of fentanyl
- 233 grams of crack cocaine
- 282 grams of powder cocaine
- 630 grams of GHB
- $34,791 in cash
- Drug trafficking paraphernalia
- Weapons (crossbows, knives and bear spray)
“Although the amount of drugs seized does not appear record-breaking, we believe a large volume of drugs were distributed in small quantities across this vast network, never staying in one place for long,” Staff Sgt. Jodi Gach said.
“We were very conscious in this investigation to arrest the individual responsible for the supply chain to certain areas.
“We are hoping that the impact of it is that by disrupting the drug supply to different areas, we’re hoping to disrupt the territorial nature of drug trafficking and be able to decrease the violence around the downtown core.”
Police have charged Lawrence Chukwka Orubor, 52, with drug-related charges including instructing drug trafficking and violent offences for a criminal organization.
As officers executed search warrants on the vehicles and homes, police also sent teams of officers and community partners to the downtown core to seek out those believed to be involved with The Family.
“Eleven people believed to be connected to the distribution of the drugs with outstanding warrants were taken into custody to deal with their current matters before the courts, before being connected with support services,” police said.
“The Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team paired up with the Bear Clan Patrol to offer support and resources to more than 100 vulnerable persons in the downtown area,” police continued. “The Elbow River Healing Lodge, the Friendship Centre, the SORCe and Be The Change YYC, were engaged to offer immediate resources and support for the days to come.”
“This operation sought to address the ongoing drug-related crime and violence throughout the downtown core and we believe we have been able to make a significant impact in addressing these issues,” Gach added.
– With files from Jenna Freeman