Calgary, AB,

Operation East Side restores access to services for vulnerable Calgarians

Operation East Side began in December 2021 to address the exponential growth of violence against vulnerable Calgarians along Dermot Baldwin Way. Since Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, more than 27 violent encounters, including assault with weapons and sexual assaults, have occurred often leaving victims seriously injured and fearing for their safety.     

Since early December, proactive police patrols have increased, along with outreach by several social-serving agencies to connect truly vulnerable individuals in the area to the resources readily available to support them. Despite these efforts, the violence continued and as a result a number of individuals have been arrested and today, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, temporary structures have been removed from Dermot Baldwin Way.

“Our investigation has shown that a criminal element has become entrenched along Dermot Baldwin Way. This group has hindered access to the Calgary Drop-In Centre by creating a gauntlet of violence and drug trafficking. The temporary structures have been used to store drugs and a significant number of deadly weapons including machetes, swords, knives, sledgehammers and firearms. All of which have been used against vulnerable members of the public simply trying to access the Calgary Drop-In Centre."

“We believe this group uses violence to control drug trafficking in the area for what has become very valuable territory for the traffickers.”

“Violence will not be tolerated in our city, full stop. Our goal with this enforcement and collaborative intervention initiative is to create a safe space for people to access the services they need,” says Calgary Police Service Insp. Clare Smart.

During Operation East Side, investigators took the unique step to request judicial authorization on three separate search warrants to access and search individual tents on Dermot Baldwin Way. Each search warrant was sought after serious attacks that left individuals trying to access services with injuries. In addition to several assaults with weapons, a minor was repeatedly sexually assaulted in one of the tents. As a result of the searches, a total of 28 weapons were seized along with 20 grams of fentanyl and 21 grams of methamphetamine.

To date, 12 suspects have been arrested, totaling 71 criminal charges, in addition to 84 outstanding warrants and more charges are expected to follow. The investigation has revealed that the offenders often return to Dermot Baldwin Way area once they are released from custody and resume their activity.

“Despite ongoing enforcement and outreach engagement, this group of individuals has continued to put others at risk. In collaboration with our partners at The City of Calgary, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, and the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the determination was made to remove the structures along Dermot Baldwin Way. The expectation is that from now on this area will remain free and clear of obstructions, both by way of physical structures, and violent or intimidating behaviour.”  

The Calgary Fire Department was on hand to safely remove safety items of concern like needles, hazardous materials and heating hazards so city crews could remove remaining debris. As the structures were removed, partner agencies were on site to ensure personal belongings were allowed to be removed safely, and that all individuals living in the structures were connected to social supports, providing offers of indoor shelter, storage for belongings and other assistance as required.

“The goal of the Calgary Drop-In Centre is to connect those experiencing homelessness with permanent housing solutions,” said Executive Director Sandra Clarkson. “The DI and other emergency shelters are an entry point to wrap-around supports and services including the many pathways it can take to being housed. We also provide a multitude of safe, dignified services both for those on their housing journey and for those who have chosen not to start theirs yet. The circumstances that contribute to homelessness are often complex and it takes time, trust, patience, and the resilience of staff, those seeking housing, and the community to create successful and sustained outcomes. We are committed to providing access to safe shelter, health, and housing programs for those that seek our services.”

“The area outside the Drop-In must remain clear to ensure that people who need critical supports feel safe and welcome to access them,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, Chief Bylaw Officer for The City of Calgary. “For that reason, we will continue to monitor this site to ensure encampments don’t reoccur in this space, but as always our Partner Agency Liaison teams will be out regularly meeting with individuals sleeping rough and offering support and safer indoor options.”

To date, the individuals arrested and charged in relation to this operation include:

  • Cody Brand NORTH PEIGAN, 38:

·         Two counts of Assault with a Weapon

·         Two counts of Possession Weapon Dangerous to Public

·         Two counts of Possession for the Purpose

·         One count of Proceeds of Crime

·         Five counts of Breach of Release Order

  • Steven Morris FIRINGSTONEY, 38:

·         One count of Assault with a Weapon

·         Ten counts of Breach of Probation

  • Preston Joseph MONTOUR, 28:

·         Three counts of Assault with a Weapon

·         Three counts of Possession Weapon Dangerous to Public

·         Three counts of Possession of Controlled Substance

·         Eight counts of Breach of Probation

·         Seven counts of Breach of Release Order 


  • Alexander Dalton Ray MOYAH, 29:

·         One count of Assault with a Weapon

·         One count of Carry Concealed Weapon

·         Two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance

·         Four counts of Breach of Probation

·         Two counts of Breach of Release Order

  • Mohamed MAANI, 34:

·         One count of Assault with a Weapon

·         One count of Possession Weapon Dangerous to Public

·         One count of Breach of Release Order

  • Jason James JAY, 39:

·         One count of Assault with a Weapon

·         One count of Breach of Release Order

  • Omot OJULLO, 26:

·         One count of Breach of Probation

Five other individuals who were arrested during the course of the investigation were charged with minor offences. We have decided not to name them due to a variety of factors including their level of involvement, mental health and one being a minor.