RCMP Priority Crimes Task Force and Calgary Police Service collaborate on major trafficking bust
Red Deer, Alberta – A joint investigation between the RCMP Priority Crimes Task Force and Calgary Police Service (CPS) has put a significant dent in an organized crime trafficking operation after search warrants in Calgary and Red Deer yielded large amounts of guns, ammunition and drugs, and sent three people to jail.
Calgary Police Service initiated their investigation in March of 2015 after receiving a tip about ongoing drug activity; they quickly noted connections to the Red Deer area. When Red Deer area RCMP GIS and the Priority Crimes Task Force initiated their own investigation in October after receiving independent intelligence regarding drug activity, it became clear that RCMP and CPS were investigating the same suspects. In November 2015, the two police forces combined forces to share intelligence and support each other’s efforts, with assistance from ALERT.
The task force spent significant time gathering intelligence between October and the end of December as two of the suspects, who lived in Red Deer and Calgary, were extremely active in drug trafficking and violent crimes in the Red Deer area during this time period.
On Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, CPS responded to an attempted armed robbery at the Rocky Mountain Pawn shop at 4108 Macleod Trail South. The suspects fled in a stolen vehicle that police believed was connected to the trafficking investigation. Numerous Calgary Police units responded, including the HAWCs helicopter, which observed the suspects abandon the stolen vehicle and flee in a second vehicle. Police conducted a high-risk vehicle stop of the second vehicle in the 100 block of Silverado Creek Crescent SW.
Over the next few days, a vehicle search by CPS and five CDSA search warrants lead by RCMP were completed on the following: an apartment at 475 Lancaster Drive, Red Deer; two rooms in a hotel in Gasoline Alley, Red Deer County, a residence located in the 0-100 block of Silverado Creek Crescent SW, Calgary, and a residence located in the 14000 block of 6 Street SW, Calgary.
During the six searches, CPS and RCMP officers seized body armor containing a ceramic plate, 9 guns, 12,159 rounds of ammunition, $14,400 cash and almost 400 grams of drugs.
Two individuals were taken into custody from the vehicle in Calgary, and a third after the Red Deer search warrants.
Shawn Barry STEIER, 30, of Red Deer, has been charged with two counts of robbery, two counts of pointing a firearm, possession of stolen property over $5,000, two counts of knowing possession of an unlicensed weapon, unlawfully at large and having a face masked or disguised during an offence. He will next appear in court on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. It is not yet known whether this will take place in Red Deer, or Calgary.
Wayant Donald CHAPIN, 37, of Calgary, has been charged with two counts of robbery, possession of stolen property over $5,000, two counts of possession of an unlicensed weapon, possession of property obtained by crime, possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of crystal meth for the purpose of trafficking, possession of body armor without a valid permit, driving an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway and two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He will next appear on court on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. It is not yet known whether this will take place in Red Deer, or Calgary.
Charges are pending against a 55 year old Red Deer woman and RCMP will issue an update once those charges are sworn before the courts.
The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be laid in the coming weeks.
“Drug traffickers and other criminals cross jurisdictions all the time, so interagency collaboration is crucial to disrupting their operations,” says Sgt. Eric McKenzie of the Red Deer RMCP. “The drug trade fuels organized crime. It breeds violent crimes such as home invasions and robberies, as well as property crimes and vehicle theft. We will continue to hammer at drug trafficking operations, enforce laws against the drug trade, and put these violent offenders before the courts.”
“The sheer number of weapons and ammunition discovered during this operation is deeply concerning,” says Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta of the CPS Drug Unit. “It speaks to the level of violence these groups are willing to go to, putting the public at significant risk. More than ever before, we must work together to put a stop to drug activity and the associated violence it brings.”
The Priority Crimes Task Force is made up of police officers from Red Deer RCMP General Investigative Section (GIS), Sylvan Lake, Innisfail and Blackfalds RCMP detachments.