Investigation into Alberta-B.C. drug trafficking network ends in $1M bust, 6 arrests : ALERT

Six people from Alberta and British Columbia have been charged following an investigation into a suspected drug trafficking network between the two provinces.

The nine-month investigation dubbed “Project Embrace” resulted in the seizure of more than $1 million worth of drugs and cash, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams said in a media release Thursday morning.

Officers said evidence gathered through the investigation suggested an Edmonton-based group coordinated the supply of drugs from B.C.

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ALERT alleges the group then facilitated distribution in Alberta, specifically in Bonnyville, Lloydminster, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Little Smoky and Frog Lake.

Investigators allege a 29-year-old Edmonton man was at the centre of the Edmonton group, which ALERT said included family members. The Edmonton man allegedly conspired with two B.C.-based men to import drugs to Alberta, ALERT said.

Four Edmonton homes and two Vancouver apartments were searched. More than six kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of meth and 18 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent were seized, along with more than $342,000 cash and a 2007 Volvo XC90 with a hidden mechanized compartment.

Watch below: In January 2017, Edmonton police demonstrated how sophisticated hidden compartments can be inside vehicles

The following people have been charged with a number of offences, including conspiracy to traffic drugs:

  • Matthew Castle, 29, from Edmonton
  • Terri Lynn Castle, 50, from Edmonton
  • Christian Castle-Wasson, 18, from Edmonton
  • David Davinder Lally, 40, from Vancouver
  • Jacob Fralin, 32, from Vancouver
  • Ryan Rautiainen, 26, from Lloydminster

ALERT said the majority of the arrests were made in June.

In conjunction with this investigation, Bonnyville RCMP charged the following people from the eastern Alberta town with multiple counts of drug trafficking:

  • Charlie Houle, 24
  • Brent Coell, 18
  • Rayden Hill, 22
  • Michael Pownall, 36
  • Britney Coulombe, 27
  • Wayne Friesen, 27
  • Tyanna John, 21
  • Dustin Gellerman, 27

Project Embrace was a joint investigation between ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime team, B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and Bonnyville RCMP.

A number of other police agencies were also involved, including the Edmonton Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, RCMP K-Division, Kamloops RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, Cold Lake RCMP, Elk Point RCMP, Kitscoty RCMP and St. Paul RCMP.

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