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RCMP lay 70 charges after investigation leads to ‘significant’ drug seizures in Sask, Alberta

A drug trafficking investigation involving a crime group that was distributing large quantities of drugs across Saskatchewan and Alberta has resulted in 70 criminal charges being laid by police. Saskatchewan RCMP / Supplied

Saskatchewan RCMP say they have arrested multiple individuals and are still looking for another suspect following an extensive investigation into a drug trafficking operation that spanned two provinces.

According to a release on Monday from the Saskatchewan RCMP, 70 criminal charges have been laid in an investigation with the spotlight on what police say is a “sophisticated crime group.”

The investigation commenced in October 2020 when the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit (FSOC), based in Regina, learned that large quantities of narcotics were being distributed in numerous Alberta and Saskatchewan communities.

Read more: Prisoner charged with meth possession after RCMP say drug balloons smuggled inside his body

Among the affected communities are larger centres, including Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, along with smaller rural communities such as Assiniboia, Marquis, Mossbank, Caronport, Hudson Bay, Limerick, Craven and Lloydminster.

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A number of federal, provincial and municipal law enforcement agencies across Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario contributed to the investigation.

Police say more than 7,000 dedicated hours of surveillance footage were conducted in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In addition, over 60 judicial authorizations were executed, which resulted in seven people being criminally charged.

RCMP add that a “significant” amount of illicit drugs and currency were seized by investigators, including near Chamberlain, Sask., where 397.5 grams of cocaine and 2.97 kilograms of methamphetamine were discovered.

Police also located 1,540 grams of Meclonazepam, which is approximately 5,000 fake Xanax pills, in Edmonton, and 452.7 grams of cocaine in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Read more: Calgary police recover $115K in drugs, gun following lengthy investigation

A following search warrant was executed at another location in Edmonton where investigators seized an additional 7,662.21 grams of Meclonazepam, which works out to about 25,000 fake Xanax pills, 40 grams of cocaine, 659.49 grams of psilocybin (mushrooms), 39.54 grams of MDMA and $123,652 in Canadian currency.

“The negative impact this group had on people in Saskatchewan and Alberta is immeasurable. These types of groups profit by poisoning our people and our communities — both in big cities and small towns. We’re really pleased to have taken these harmful substances out of our communities,” stated RCMP FSOC Inspector Andrew Farquhar in the release.

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RCMP say a significant amount of illicit drugs and currency were seized as a result of this investigation. Saskatchewan RCMP / Supplied

The suspects arrested as part of this investigation include Travis Ferko, Cody Klemola, Jennifer Tabunar and Joel Gladue of Edmonton; Matteo Cimino of St. Albert, Alta; and Cong Su of Vaughn, Ont.

The six individuals are set to be in court on June 21 in Regina for their first court appearances in this case.

RCMP say they are still looking for another suspect in this investigation — 48-year-old-Michael Bagan of Edmonton.

Police describe Bagan as six feet tall and weighing about 216 lbs, with blue eyes and brown hair. RCMP have issued a warrant for his arrest.

Any information on Bagan’s whereabouts is asked to be directed to the Saskatchewan RCMP or your local police service. Tips can also be sent anonymously by contact Crime Stoppers.

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