Lethbridge, Alberta – The Alberta Sheriffs have shut down a drug house in Lethbridge after another successful collaboration with local police.
Investigators from the sheriffs’ Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit obtained a court order against the owner of 124 19 Street N. in Lethbridge, barring anyone from the property for 90 days.
Under terms of a community safety order that took effect on May 12, crews boarded up the house and erected a fence around the property to stop anyone from entering until the closure period ends on Aug. 9.
“This successful operation comes during National Police Week (May 9-15), which is focused this year on how collaboration between police and partner organizations plays a vital role in keeping our communities safe. The combined efforts of the Alberta Sheriffs and the Lethbridge Police Service in this case are a great example of how working together can put a stop to criminal activity that endangers law-abiding Albertans.” – Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
SCAN began investigating in June 2020, in response to multiple complaints from the community. Residents reported seeing used needles throughout the neighbourhood, people using intravenous drugs on the driveway, as well as threatening and violent behaviour from people associated with the property. In one case, a physical fight escalated into a vehicle chase between them that ended with a car crashing into a neighbour’s fence.
Between October 2019 and February 2021, the Lethbridge Police Service responded to 33 incidents at the property. A police search warrant in June 2020 turned up a small amount of fentanyl, along with drug paraphernalia and several pieces of stolen identification.
The SCAN unit was able to substantiate the community complaints during its own investigation, observing drug transactions and a high number of people coming and going from the property while conducting surveillance.
Using evidence from the SCAN unit and Lethbridge police, authorities obtained a community safety order in Court of Queen’s Bench on May 7. The order remains in effect for a year, keeping the property under supervision until May 7, 2022.
This is the seventh drug house in Lethbridge closed by the SCAN unit since 2019.
The SCAN unit works with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the authority to target problem properties through civil enforcement.
Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated more than 5,800 problem properties and issued nearly 100 community safety orders. The majority of complaints are resolved by working with property owners to keep criminal activity out of the community.
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