Pubdate: Thu, 11 May 2017
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Nick Kuhl
Page: A1



Several young children were found living in drug houses on the city's
westside, while five people face charges under Alberta's Drug
Endangered Children's Act after ALERT recently seized nearly $100,000
worth of drugs and cash.

ALERT's organized crime and drug unit in Lethbridge, along with
Lethbridge Police Service members, executed four search warrants on
vehicles and homes in west Lethbridge late last week to conclude an
investigation that began in late 2016.

The bust, announced Wednesday morning by officials, saw ALERT seize
$77,000 in cash proceeds of crime, more than 100 grams of cocaine, 993
grams of a cocaine cutting agent, two vehicles and a bicycle.

Officials said when the search warrants were executed, young children
were found living in both homes. As such, Child and Family Services
are providing assistance with the investigation.

"Anytime we find children, especially of a young age, in residences
where there's drug trafficking or consumption, it's a grave concern,"
said LPS Staff Sgt. Jason Walper, of ALERT Lethbridge, in a release.

"It's our responsibility to make sure our communities are safe and
children are taken care of." Walper said that seizing the proceeds of
crime from suspected drug dealers is just as important as seizing
actual drugs.

"Cash is what drug dealers are going to use to go buy more product,"
he said. "Being able to intercept the cash prior to them reintroducing
that into the economy is good for us, and it certainly puts a dent
their ability to fund their criminal activities."

A 33-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman have each been charged with
possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds
of crime, times two.

Another man, 28, has been charged with possession for the purpose of
trafficking, possession of proceeds of crime, and possession of a
controlled substance. Those three, plus two others - a 19-year-old
woman and a 42-year-old man - have all been charged under the Drug
Endangered Children Act.

The names of those arrested are not being released to protect the
identities of the children.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their
community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at
1800-222-TIPS (8477).
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