Sgt. Nicole Chapdelaine, Coordinator, Public Safety Compliance Team (left) and Det. Guy Pilon, Drug and Gang Section talk about the Edmonton Police Service issuing a warning about the dangers of Ecstasy/PMMA following the numerous Alberta overdoses and deaths that have been linked to the ingestion of the drug in Edmonton on Thursday February 9, 2012.
Credits: TOM BRAID/EDMONTON SUN QMI AGENCY
Two Calgarians are among those charged with cocaine and heroin trafficking offences -- activity that's proven a violent scourge in the central Alberta city, said Cpl. Kathe Deheer.
"We've seen crime attributable to those criminal groups in Red Deer -- we've seen crime increase since their arrival," she said, adding kidnappings, robberies, shootings and assaults have been linked to the groups.
"We've disrupted the local operations of nationally-identified organized crime groups. This sends a message that we know they're here and we're looking at them."
The arrests followed months of investigation conducted by police units from Red Deer and Edmonton.
Three of the accused -- Zachary Ovid, 19, of Winnipeg, and Red Deer residents Tyler Dahl, 19, and 18-year-old Justin Poteet are charged with heroin offences.
The opiate drug -- normally a rarity compared to designer substances and cocaine -- has been making a comeback in central Alberta, said Deheer.
"We are seeing an increase in heroin on the street -- we won't speculate on why that is," she said.
Mounties wouldn't release the names of the gangs, but Deheer said they could be attracted to Red Deer due to its location behind the affluent larger cities of Calgary and Edmonton.