Calgary police have charged 22 people with 115 criminal charges in relation to a drug trafficking operation at CTrain stations across the city.
The Calgary Police Service drug undercover street team launched an investigation in March after an increase in calls at CTrain stations related to drug use, overdoses, and drug-related violence. The investigation aimed to disrupt drug trafficking believed to be happening at these locations.
“There were a couple of LRT platforms in the downtown core and a couple on the periphery that were flagged as sort of high issue areas,” said Acting Insp. Jeremy Wittman, with CPS’ criminal network section. “Those are the particular areas that we targeted.”
According to a Thursday morning statement, officers arrested 22 individuals and laid 115 various criminal charges after collecting evidence and identifying the alleged offenders.
The charges include trafficking of a controlled substance, possession of property obtained by crime, breach of a court order, and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Eight of the offenders were also wanted on 77 unrelated warrants for previous offences and court breaches.
“We’ve already seen an impact from this targeted enforcement,” Staff Sgt. Kyle Grant said in the press release.
“Calgarians deserve to feel safe as they move about our city, including on transit, and we will continue to monitor crime trends so that we can target the areas where drug trafficking is occurring.”
Investigators also seized crack cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, psilocybin, and unknown pills during the investigation, according to the news release.
“This is a significant disruption to the sort of lower level of drug traffickers,” Wittman said. We will be required to be vigilant going forward to continue our efforts.”
Transit safety has been an ongoing issue in the city for several months, with access still barred to the indoor sections of four CTrain stations.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said the police operation is “the tip of the iceberg,” and the issue requires a deeper dive to address the root causes.
“We have to understand that there are a lot of other social complexities around why individuals are choosing LRT stations as a point to consume,” Penner said. “Removing the supply is helpful. But understanding that doesn’t solve an addict’s problem of needing to access substances.”
Community advocates said the move is a step in the right direction, but more resources are needed for mental health and addictions supports.
According to Chaz Smith with Be The Change YYC, many people have to wait days in line to enter detox facilities, and can only access necessary treatment if they’ve undergone a detox.
“So, this becomes a barrier,” Smith told Global News. “It’s about scaling up the capacity of those services to continue to support the vulnerable population.”
According to Wittman, supports and contacts were provided to people identified by officers that may have needed mental health or addictions support during the operation.
Police say the following individuals have been charged with drug trafficking and other charges:
- Trevor Reid, 30
- Justin Lefthand, 35
- Peggy Holy Singer, 28
- Samy Mamouni, 45
- Gatpan Ruot, 27
- Charles Wellwood, 40
- Danika Whitford, 26
- Keith Stewart, 48
- Troy Campbell, 46
- Dylan Durant, 28
- Sebastian Houle, 43
- Lundy Hour, 39
- Colton Hilgen, 28
- Cody North Peigan, 38
- Kathrean North Peigan, 27
- John Crazybull, 55
- Beverly Prairie Chicken, 53
- Calvin Bigstone, 41
- William Lawrence, 57
- Cyle Klucsarits, 36
- Kevin Bush, 40
- Christopher Flett, 33