Medicine Hat, Alberta – An ALERT investigation into the southeastern Alberta methamphetamine market has resulted in the seizure of a large amount of drugs, cash, a loaded handgun, and $450,000 worth of stolen property.
The results came as part of a joint investigation between ALERT Medicine Hat’s organized crime team, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP Gleichen. The investigation began in December 2016 and concluded with six search warrants and nine arrests taking place on February 25, 2017.
The search warrants took place at four homes in Strathmore, one in Wheatland County, and at a business in Gleichen with assistance from RCMP Emergency Response Team and RCMP Strathmore. A total of $75,000 in drugs and cash was seized along with an extensive amount of stolen property. Roughly $450,000 worth of stolen property was recovered, including pick-up trucks, trailers, recreation vehicles, and heavy equipment. ALERT alleges that the stolen property was likely being exchanged for drugs.
The following items were seized as result of the search warrants:
- Loaded 9mm Norinco handgun
- 561 grams of methamphetamine
- 126 grams of crack cocaine
- 146 grams of marijuana
- $9,000 cash proceeds of crime
- 5 stolen pick-up trucks
- 2 utility trailers
- 2 recreational vehicles
- Flat-deck trailer
- Skid-steer loader
- Transport truck
ALERT’s investigation was opened in response to community concerns about meth trafficking and associated crime in southeastern Alberta. ALERT believes that this network would have been involved in supplying drugs throughout the region.
At the center of ALERT’s investigation was Craig Coffey, a 41-year-old man from Strathmore. ALERT alleges he facilitated the drug supply and employed a network of drug dealers. Coffey is charged with instructing the commission of an offence for a criminal organization, in addition to 27 other charges related to drugs and stolen property.
Eight associates of Coffey were charged with more than 30 offences:
- Echo Brandt, 39-year-old woman from Strathmore
- Tracy Brown, 38-year-old woman from Strathmore;
- Paul Craig, 42-year-old man from Wheatland County;
- Michael Fittler, 27-year-old man from Strathmore;
- Kurtis Goett, 19-year-old man from Strathmore;
- Michael MacCharles, 49-year-old man from Strathmore;
- James MacCormack, 59-year-old man from Gleichen;
- Gabriella Michaud, 20-year-old woman from Strathmore.
Warrants have also been issued for the following suspects:
- Jalene Campbell, 24-year-old woman from Strathmore;
- Kyle Labbe, 31-year-old man from Strathmore.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Alberta Sheriffs, Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.