The Prince Albert Police Service and their partners have arrested four suspects and issued a warrant for one more after seizing the largest amount of drugs in the service’s history.
On March, 16, the service’s Crime Reduction Team (CRT) and members of the Prince Albert RCMP seized 31.2 kg of cocaine while executing a search warrant in a trailer court north of Prince Albert. That’s nearly three times larger than the previous record of slightly more than 11 kg of cocaine.
“You think of what was prevented here by this seizure, and I’m so impressed by the work of our crime reduction team, and the partner teams within the Prince Albert Police Service (who) participated in this incredible seizure,” Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “These drugs, they cause such great harm. Much of the suffering you see the community in, it definitely ties back to addictions, and so having these drugs seized and putting people through the courts who are responsible for bringing these harms to our community is something that we’re very proud of.”
Police also seized gun parts, ammunition, cocaine cutting agent, paraphernalia consistent with a large-scale drug trafficking operation, and roughly $55,000 in currency. Officers made the seizure after learning about a possible cocaine trafficking operation during a multi-week investigation.
Police have arrested Gordon Greer-Vandale, 30, of Prince Albert, Spencer Evans, 27, and Jim Lakatos, 34, both of North Battleford, and Santana Foulds, 28, of Saskatoon in connection with the case. All four individuals face multiple charges, including Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking. None of the charges have been proven in court.
Police have also issued a warrant for the arrest of Dean Marchand, 31, of Saskatoon. He faces multiple charges including Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5000, and Possession of Prohibited Ammunition.
Additional charges may be added as the investigation continues.
Insp. Craig Mushka said the value of the seized cocaine ranges from $1.5 million to $4 million, depending on where and how it is sold. Police believe the majority of the drugs were intended for resale in northern Saskatchewan, but Mushka said it’s too early in the investigation to draw firm conclusions.
He also said it’s too early to comment on whether gang members or organized crime were involved.
Bergen said methamphetamines and cocaine are the two drugs Prince Albert police seize the most. He said this seizure would not only benefit Prince Albert, but Saskatchewan too.
“It means that there’s less harm, no doubt,” Bergen said. “We recognized that people are suffering from addictions, and taking these drugs off the street is going to lead to less access and less harm, and hopefully, to less people falling into addiction and suffering from the impact of these (drugs).”
The Prince Albert Police Service’s Proactive Policing Unit and Forensic Identification Unit also assisted with the investigation, as did the Prince Albert Trafficking Response Team, and the Saskatoon and Regina police services.