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Drug bust hits home Police in Central Alberta have struck a deadly blow to illegal drug trafficking in the region, following several major drug busts and weapons-related arrests...
By Bryan Alary Globe Staff Writer Tuesday November 23, 2004
Lacombe Globe ? Police in Central Alberta have struck a deadly blow to illegal drug trafficking in the region, following several major drug busts and weapons-related arrests. The sting resulted in police seizing $90,000 worth of drugs and various weapons, including an assault rifle and explosives. In total, 43 Central Alberta residents were targeted during a seven-week investigation, including a 26-year-old Lacombe man. "This was an intelligence-led investigation," said Cpl. Rick Goldstein of Red Deer RCMP drug section. About 25 officers from Red Deer RCMP subdivision drug section, Red Deer city street team and RCMP detachments from Olds, Three Hills, Didsbury and Sundre assisted in the investigation, dubbed "Project Kottage." The busts came after undercover RCMP officers made several successful drug purchases and conducted six raids, according to Goldstein. Police estimate more than 150 charges related to drugs, proceeds of crime and weapons would eventually be laid, most of them in Red Deer. Of the 43 people facing charges, only nine were arrested. So far, police seized 794 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine, 130 grams of methamphetamine, 956 grams of marijuana, 125 grams of magic mushrooms and MS contin and Valium. Goldstein said each community is responsible for its own charges and each day brings about five to eight more arrests. The operation is an example of police branches working together to clean up Central Alberta?s streets, said Goldstein, noting that in areas like Lacombe, it made sense to work with the Lacombe Police Service--officers who are familiar with criminal activity in their jurisdiction. "I think it?s going to put a big dent in (Central Alberta?s drug trade). We took a large quantity of drugs off the street," he said. In the short term, users and traffickers are going to see drug shortages, said Goldstein. "In the long term, traffickers are going to be much more reluctant to sell to people they don?t know," he said, confident it would take time for drug peddlers to regain their boldness. Even as the number of charges increases, Goldstein doesn?t expect too many drug traffickers to flee the area. "Once word gets out on the street, some may go into hiding. If they?re not taken down in the short term, they?ll certainly surface in the coming months." Lacombe police made their single arrest on Nov. 13 after executing a search warrant at a room in a local hotel, according to police chief Bill Zens. Zens said police recovered 89.5 grams of marijuana, along with other drug paraphernalia. Christopher Mittemeyer was charged with unlawful trafficking of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana for purposes of trafficking. Mittemeyer is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 10. "We?re trying to put an end to any of this activity," said Zens, asking for the public?s help. "This is only one arrest." Residents are asked to contact police if they see suspicious behaviour that could be associated with drug trafficking. High volumes of vehicle traffic over short periods of time, suspicious individuals coming and going and out-of-province licence plates are clues residents can look for, he said. "We still have individuals who are involved in this in our community."