Thursday, January 18, 2007


As they say on Law and Order.

Ripped from the Headlines, or in this case from the press releases of the RCMP, the Daily News features the front page story of a four month undercover drug investigation in a number of Northwest communities.

An investigation that found 53 suspected drug dealers facing charges and an upcoming date with the judicial system.

Drug cops swoop across region in huge operation
By James Vassallo
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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 1-800-222-8477.

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