Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jan 2007
Source: Prince Rupert Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
Author: James Vassallo, staff writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


A four-month-long undercover police investigation in 10 Northwest
communities has led to charges against 53 suspected drug dealers
around the region.

The initiative, dubbed Project E-PARKWAY, was coordinated by Prince
Rupert's North District Drug Section and targetted street-level
traffickers in Queen Charlotte City/Skidegate, Masset, Prince Rupert,
Terrace, Kitimat, Nass Valley, New Hazelton, Smithers and Houston.

"We have a specialty unit that is able to provide direction and
leadership to the other detachments and assist them in carrying out
these tasks," said Const. Jagdev Uppal, Border Integrity Program.

"At a lot of the detachments, we basically utilize the special skills
of the North District Drug Section for doing the undercover buys,
preparing the warrants.

"In this case, undercover officers were used to make purchases off of
these individuals, which resulted in search warrants being executed
and further evidence gained and more drugs being seized."

During the investigation, undercover police officers purchased a
variety of drugs that included cocaine, marihuana, crack cocaine,
morphine, and psilocybin or so-called 'magic mushrooms. Locally, 11
people form Prince Rupert, six people from Queen Charlotte
City/Skidegate and four from Masset face charges.

"It wasn't a large quantity of drugs, a lot of them where just
transactions between two individuals, but ... it's fairly significant
for the entire North Coast," said Uppal.

"Any sort of initiative or project of this sort will definitely have
an impact and locally here, our goal is to get the message out that
even in small communities, the drugs are out there, it doesn't matter
where you live it's an issue that we're going to try and combat."

Charges faced by those apprehended around the region include:
trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled
substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of
trafficking, unlawful possession of a firearm, unsafe storage of a
firearm, breach of probation, breach of undertaking to a judge and
breach of a conditional sentence order.

Several of the suspects had a history of drug convictions, including
one individual who had recently been convicted of possession of a
controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. This individual
was serving their sentence in the community and was bound by strict
conditions when they allegedly sold drugs to undercover police
officers. The suspect is facing additional drug and breach charges.

In addition to the undercover purchases, the 13 search warrants
executed by the various RCMP detachments resulted in additional drugs
being seized and two firearms being taken by police. As well, $13,000
in cash being seized.

The project, which was conducted from September to December 2006, is
regarded as highly successful by police who say it has impacted a
number of drug traffickers in each community. RCMP add they will
continue to target anyone involved in the illegal drug trade and are
committed to ensuring safe homes and safe communities.

"We also encourage the public, we need their support to report any
suspicious activity in relation to drug trafficking," said Uppal.
"We're doing the best we can to address it, but we definitely need the
help of the public to do that."

The RCMP is asking every citizen to do their part by reporting any
information regarding drug trafficking, marijuana grow operations or
drug labs to their local detachments or by calling Crime Stoppers at
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin