Grande Prairie came up a few times in ALERT’s Annual Report.
The report contains data from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Over that time, just over a dozen fire arms were seized in Grande Prairie.
Mike Tucker, Spokesperson with ALERT, says these are not just regular guns involved in hunting. These are guns in the hands of drug dealers, organized crime members and gang members.
“The level of arsenal that we’re finding in these search warrants, we’re talking about like hand guns modified to shoot as machine guns or firearms with the serial numbers filed off,” said Tucker. “We’re talking about some pretty serious fire power and that should be concerning for citizens.”
Province-wide, ALERT has seen an increased number of seized firearms, with a record breaking 250 guns seized as a result of organized crime investigations.
Tucker said there is still a lot of work to be done and firearms will be top priority in the future.
In the report, ALERT singles out an instance where three young children were found living in a Grande Prairie home amongst a large amount of cocaine, and a loaded, unsecured shotgun. A total of four homes were searched and more than $40,000 in drugs and cash was seized in November.
Fentanyl is also high on ALERT’s priority list as it is always a growing concern and the numbers are not decreasing.
Overdose deaths remain high, and a lot of other crime, like property crime and drug-related violence go hand in hand with fentanyl.
Tucker said organized crime is at the heart of fentanyl, supplying and distributing through communities like Grande Prairie.
In Alberta, 19,000 pills were seized and a lab outside of Edmonton was dismantled last year.
“In Grande Prairie specifically, there was about 740 pills taken out of that community,” said Tucker. “That’s significant when you look at the fact that one pill can kill, I mean, that’s hopefully lives being saved.”
In the report, it states that ALERT assisted Valleyview RCMP with the disruption of a local drug trafficking ring. Five people were arrested and 40 grams of cocaine and 42 grams of meth was seized.
Another largely growing concern for ALERT is the number of Internet Child Exploitation offences.
This includes child pornography offences, child exploitation offences and luring.
Tucker said this was the seventh straight year the ICE number has increased, and he would say it has been by about 40 per cent yearly.
He also said the Internet plays a large role in this by creating an avenue for like-minded people to perpetuate these crimes.
“But in Grande Prairie we’ve really had some great success. We’ve had an awesome working relationship with the detachment in their General Investigation section,” said Tucker. “Having a dedicated officer in Grande Prairie who is investigating ICE related offences, that relationship has really paid off.”
Tucker added that ALERT needs to prioritize these cases and have an eye toward protecting children by being more proactive and intervening.
He says they can do this by looking to see which kids are more vulnerable or by looking at targets who have access to kids.
The full report can be found here.