Drugs, weapons and cash were rounded up by Yellowknife RCMP last month when a long-term investigation led to the arrest of 14 people, with a total of 44 charges.
Officers from the “G” Division Federal Investigation Unit executed four search warrants at residences in Yellowknife on Aug. 12 and 13, nailing seven of their eight targets. Seven others were arrested in outside incidents as a result of the investigation.
“Putting that all together takes a team effort for drug investigations of this magnitude, and we on all accounts are dealing with organized crime,” said Sgt. Barry Ledoux. “Drug seizures and money…definitely have an effect on the reduction of incidents, assaults, thefts and other crimes.
“This all falls within our ongoing plan to combat illegal activities, to reduce crime and promote safe and secure communities,” Ledoux said.
The majority of charges laid were for crack and powder cocaine trafficking and possession. Other contraband seized during the bust included fentanyl, marijuana, codeine and firearms.
Some of the suspects arrested also had outstanding warrants against them for assaults, including Nathan Lewis Hodges, 24, who was wanted for a stabbing that occurred outside Coyote’s Bar in Yellowknife earlier this summer.
“One thing about our drug investigations, they’re a continual gathering of information. It’s not just the start of saying, ‘O.K. we’re going to target one individual,’” Ledoux said. “We’ve continued to build on past investigations and we also incorporate other investigative techniques.”
Most of the people charged were from Yellowknife and British Columbia. They ranged in age from 18 to 51 and included both females and males, showing that anyone from any demographic can become a criminal.
“The part of organized crime groups like this is that there’s a supply and demand; there’s always going to be those that are going to see an opportunity to make quick cash and move on that opportunity,” Ledoux said. “This is something that’s happening all over the territory and our members are doing what they can to try to combat this.”
Ledoux said a lot of the investigation’s information came from the public, through anonymous tips and calls to Crime Stoppers.
“We can only do so much,” he said. “We rely on the public to pass on information of illegal activity.”
The majority of the accused will have their first court dates in late October.
856 gang activity continues
A second short-term investigation in early September led to the arrest of Chad Nels Peacock, 34, a suspect believed to be associated with the 856 gang from B.C.
He was seized at his residence in Niven Heights and charged with possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and possession of marijuana. Police seized cash, a money counter and marijuana at the time of his arrest.
Peacock was arrested previously during Operation Goblin, a 2013 investigation into the 856 gang that led to several arrests and uncovered $32,000 in cash, drugs, guns and stolen goods.