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Associate of Kevin J. Johnston charged after drone flown illegally over several Calgary locations

Derek Storie (left) and Kevin Johnston (right) attending a rally outside GraceLife Church in Parkland County, near Edmonton, on April 11, 2021. Global News

A man known for being friends with far-right social media personality Kevin J. Johnston has been charged after a drone was illegally flown several times this week in Calgary, including at this past weekend’s CFL game.

Transport Canada and the Calgary Police Service said they are investigating the incidents.

The first happened on Monday, when police said a drone was flown over McMahon Stadium during the Labour Day Classic between the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks.

The operator was “in contravention of flying above crowds, higher than 400 feet and operating the drone in airspace occupied by the Royal Canadian Air Force,” police said.

The second incident took place on Tuesday at City Hall and Olympic Plaza, in which police said the drone was flown over crowds.

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Calgary police said Derek Storie was arrested on Tuesday and charged with:

  • Two counts of operate a conveyance in a manner that was dangerous to the public, under the Criminal Code section 320.13(1)
  • One count of operate a remotely piloted aircraft system in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or likely to endanger aviation safety, contrary to section 900.06 of the Canadian Aircraft Regulations.

Police said under Transport Canada regulations, drone pilots are not allowed to fly near or over advertised events, unless they have a special flight operations certificate that allows them to do so.

Click to play video: 'Large crowd of GraceLife Church supporters try to take down temporary RCMP fencing' Large crowd of GraceLife Church supporters try to take down temporary RCMP fencing
Large crowd of GraceLife Church supporters try to take down temporary RCMP fencing – Apr 11, 2021

Storie is known for travelling in the same circle as Johnston, who is a Calgary mayoral candidate and outspoken opponent of Alberta’s COVID-19 public health measures.

Read more: Kevin J. Johnston to serve 40 days in custody for violating COVID-19 restrictions

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Johnston has been charged with several offences related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including violating gathering limits at rallies — some of which were organized by him.

Storie is often seen attending such events with Johnston, usually helping to livestream the events online.

Both were spotted together at a large protest outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, which flouted Alberta’s public health restrictions throughout the winter and spring of 2021.

Johnston recently pleaded guilty to criminal charges of harassing an Alberta Health Services employee and causing a disturbance at a downtown Calgary shopping centre.

Click to play video: 'Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations' Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations
Calgary pastor and mayoral candidate released after alleged COVID-19 violations – May 17, 2021

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