Pubdate: Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network
Authors: Bryan Passifiume and Dave Naylor
Page: A1


Alleged local international crime cartel had United States, Mexican

Calgary school buddies came together to form their own drug
trafficking gang, with links to murder, money laundering and vicious
Mexican cartels, say city police.

The group was allegedly responsible for millions of dollars in
international drug imports and exports, and has been tied to a brazen
Calgary shooting that left two dead in a south Calgary Superstore
parking lot.

Calgary police say the group now faces dozens of charges, from drug
importation to money-laundering to murder.

Nearly all of those arrested are Calgary men in their

"The rise of this group to dealing with international cartels is
nothing short of amazing," said one Postmedia police source.

"This is basically a group of guys that grew up together, went to
school together."

Sources say the gang rose to international levels by smuggling
marijuana and ecstasy across the border into the U.S., and trading it
for meth with members of Mexican drug cartels. In one instance in
2016, three Calgary drug mules were busted in Utah after making a
trade with the cartel in Los Angeles. Making their way back to Calgary
after the drug deal, they were stopped by police, who found 100
kilograms of meth stashed in a pickup truck.

It was called that state's biggest meth bust in history, with an
estimated street value of between $10 million and $15 million.

Postmedia has learned one of the drug mules was the son of a Calgary
Police officer - leading to the investigation being conducted in
extraordinary secrecy.

Facing charges are Drew Mann, 25, Matthew Spiers, 24, Bryan
Livingston, 32, Blais Delaire, 26, and Allistair Chapman, 25.

Police allege Chapman is the ringleader.

"The funny thing is, gang members didn't like Chapman. In fact, they
hated him," said a Postmedia source. "But he was the one who had the

After the Utah meth bust, police turned their full attention to the
gang and launched Project Arbour.

It included numerous trips to the Utah prison where the three
smugglers were being held, Postmedia has learned.

Two of the three mules were released with time served, and the third
is awaiting sentencing.

"It is the investigators' belief that the Canadians arrested were
couriers and working for a Calgary-based organized crime group
(allegedly) under the direction of Allistair Chapman. ALERT further
alleges that the group was involved in the importation and exportation
of drugs from Alberta, British Columbia and the United States," ALERT
Supt. Chad Coles said at a Thursday morning news conference at Calgary
police headquarters.

Security at the news conference was conspicuously tight, with tactical
unit members wielding C8 rifles both inside the briefing room and
patrolling the area.

Leads subsequently returned the focus of the investigation to Calgary
and the discovery of drug labs here. Police found a clandestine drug
laboratory in the southwest community of Rosscarrock that was being
used to produce fentanyl pills and steroids.

The RCMP's Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team
dismantled the lab and seized a functioning pill press, pill press
punch dies, a 50-litre powder mixer and more than 17 kilograms of
various chemicals.

The pill press seized was capable of producing a stunning 18,000 pills
an hour, and the dies bore the imprints found on fentanyl "80" and
"CDN." The pill press was contaminated with fentanyl and submitted for

Another home in Cougar Ridge was found to be a cannabis resin
manufacturing lab where an additional 500 grams of suspected fentanyl
powder was seized, along with varying amounts of cannabis products.

Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy of ALERT's organized crime unit said the
dismantling of both labs was a significant move in both disrupting the
local drug trade and improving the safety of Calgarians.

"We cut off a significant supply of fentanyl and undoubtedly saved
lives - not only in Calgary, but in the surrounding area and

He also said he was surprised how quickly the gang climbed in
international hierarchy.

"We know they worked their way up fairly quickly, and they had
contacts with other groups," McCurdy said. "There are some blanks
there we obviously aren't aware of - they did reach a fairly high
level at a fairly young age."

Postmedia has learned police search warrants wrapped up on Feb. 15,
with a total of four being executed. Along with the drugs, police
seized five firearms, including two shotguns and three rifles, and
body armour.

The gang has been tied to a prominent double murder in Calgary last

On May 21, Colin Reitberger was shot to death along with Anees Amir in
a Superstore parking lot at 130th Avenue S.E.

CPS homicide Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said it is believed
Reitberger was killed because of his link to the drug trade and Amir
was an unintended victim.

Christian Ouellette - the alleged enforcer of the group - was arrested
weeks after the shooting in June 2017, and the 20-year-old is
allegedly part of Chapman's criminal organization.

"Project Arbour yielded evidence to suggest that Blais Delaire,
another member of Chapman's group, assisted Ouellette in obtaining the
weapon used in the homicides," said Schiavetta.

"One of the reasons why we had such quick success with the homicides
was because of Project Arbour - they were able to collaborate with our
homicide investigators and we were able to put the pieces of the
homicide together very quickly," Schiavetta said.
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