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Five arrested in major drug sting

Police raid Westlock and St. Albert homes last week

Feb 21, 2012 06:00 am | By Doug Neuman | The Westlock News

Five Westlock residents have been arrested after police busted an alleged drug-trafficking network operating in Westlock and St. Albert.

Two St. Albert men were also arrested in the raids, which targeted three homes in Westlock and one in St. Albert last week.

The investigation and subsequent busts were a joint effort between local RCMP detachments and the Edmonton Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, a team that comprises both RCMP and Edmonton Police Services members, according to a media release.

Westlock RCMP Cpl. Dave Casey said while this bust might not seem significant for the CFSEU, with members operating in Alberta’s big cities, it’s fairly large for this community and represents a lot of work.

“These teams work all throughout the province, so it’s not like they can come to Westlock every week,” Casey said. “There’s a lot of details that have to go into it to get them into here, and providing them with information and intelligence so they can start their investigation and go from there.”

He said the investigation included tailing suspects, which helped determine the connection between the Westlock and St. Albert arrests.

The undercover work this investigation included will help bolster the case against the suspects in court, as well, he said.

“There were sales made to undercover operators, and that has a significance when it comes to court,” Casey said.

In total, police found 10 grams of cocaine, two grams of methamphetamine, 977 grams of marijuana and more than 500 tablets of four different prescription medications.

Police also found a .357 magnum handgun with 54 rounds of ammunition, nunchuks, brass knuckles, drug trafficking paraphernalia and close to $9,000.

Casey said the weapons were seized from the St. Albert residence, and noted that these types of crimes occur everywhere in the province.

“The doesn’t make Westlock a bad place. It’s no different than any other place,” he said. “We’ll continue to do our investigations and hopefully be able to deal with these things when they happen.”

In the two communities, five men and two women were arrested and charged with a total of 36 offences under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act. Each has been charged with at least one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The following Westlock residents have been arrested and charged: Darren Smith, 53; Wayne Schmidt, 50; Jeremy Schmidt, 18; Karen Wilson, 53 and Savauna Ziehe, 19.

Two St. Albert residents have also been arrested: Philip Dale Rombough, 45, and Aaron Deblois, 37.

Police have also issued an arrest warrant for a female suspect from the Westlock area, but Casey declined to name her.

“We don’t want that person running, and they might not be aware there is a warrant for them,” Casey said.

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