County Council received an update Monday on a five-person specialized drug unit first assembled in September 2016.
Unlike ALERT, which looks at high-level targets and organized crime, the specialized drug unit works more on a street level.
“We’ll have a drug target, and I’ll kind of look at it and go, ok, this particular person, are they affecting the community? Are they out with guns? Are they actively being violent? There’s a whole bunch of different variables that we would look at as a unit to determine our target,” explained Corporal Eldon Chillog, head of the specialized drug unit.
One bust Chillog says stands out was in November of 2016 when 47-year-old Abdulmalik Hassen was arrested at a Countryside South residence. The unit seized over 2,000 fentanyl pills, 56 grams of crack cocaine, crystal meth, marijuana, $9,000 cash and a loaded, stolen handgun.
Hassen is set for trial in Grande Prairie on October 10, 2017. He faces five Criminal Code offences and four charges in regards to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
“People are very careful,” Chillog said. “They know we’re after those people that are selling [drugs].”
Although the covert operation mainly focuses on fentanyl in the community, they do target all illegal drug activity.
Chillog says one of their busts involved a female senior citizen who was selling marijuana to high school students.
“Even though the drug was marijuana, it was still a situation where it was being sold to young people. We just felt that was necessary to go and try to stop.”
The unit has made about seven significant busts in total.