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2-year investigation nets $2M in drugs, cash and proceeds of crime: Alberta police

Dozens of charges have been laid against eight people after a two-year drug investigation by ALERT. Supplied: ALERT

Eight Edmontonians have being charged and around $2 million in drugs, cash and proceeds of crime seized after a two-year investigation which police say spanned across Canada.

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams made the announcement Tuesday in a news release.

The investigation — dubbed Project Elk — looked into a Edmonton-based trafficking network that was allegedly involved in importing drugs, specifically cocaine and methamphetamine.

“Project Elk will prove to be significant disruption to drug markets in Edmonton and other communities in northern Alberta,” Insp. Kevin Berge said.

Read more: $1M in drugs seized in northern Alberta drug investigation

The investigation began in November 2019 and included the assistance of the Edmonton Police Service and specialized RCMP units in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

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According to ALERT spokesperson Mike Tucker, the group was allegedly operating for a “considerable time.”

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ALERT intercepted a six-kilogram shipment of cocaine from Toronto in August 2020. A series of search warrants at six Edmonton homes and one in Strathcona County were issued after that.

In the homes, police found:

  • Five firearms
  • 10 kilograms of cocaine
  • 17 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent
  • 4.7 kilograms of meth
  • 2.9 kilograms of cannabis
  • $135,000 cash

According to numbers previously provided by ALERT, a kilo of cocaine can be sold for between $50,000 to $70,000 on the street in Alberta, depending on where in the province it’s sold.

A buffing agent is used to stretch the drug supply by adding other ingredients to pure drugs. It’s usually a dangerous chemical, Tucker said.

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“(Drug dealers) don’t care about the end user,” he said. “They don’t care about what’s going in and who’s going to be affected.”

He called this bust “substantial” and pointed to the other ways drug trafficking and drug crimes harm the community. The amount of shootings and catalytic converter thefts taking place in Edmonton can be linked back to the drug trade.

“Ultimately, society pays the price for that,” Tucker said.

Read more: 1.9 kg of meth seized in Medicine Hat’s largest drug bust

Police also seized about $200,000 in related property, including three vehicles, jewelry, diamond rings and Rolex watches.

A total of 35 criminal charges ranging from drug and firearms offences, to conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, to commission of an offence for a criminal organization have been laid against:

  • Tyshawn Walters, a 29-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Kashane Walters, a 34-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Kariyawasam Kariyawasam, a 39-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Tyree Malcolm, a 28-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Levi Collinge, a 39-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Boris Derpich, a 43-year-old man from Edmonton
  • Stacey Sharpe, a 35-year-old woman from Edmonton
  • Trevor Bellows, a 31-year-old man from Edmonton

Tucker confirmed Tyshawn and Kashane are brothers.

The suspects are expected to make their first court appearance on Thursday.

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