A major drug bust spanning across the U.S. border has resulted in several arrests and a number of charges following a year-long police investigation.
A year-long investigation by ALERT has dismantled an alleged organized crime group operating out of Calgary. ALERT worked alongside the Calgary Police Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to link the group to numerous alleged criminal offences. Project Arbour was an investigation by ALERT Calgary’s organized crime and gang team that uncovered a Calgary organized crime group’s alleged operation of a fentanyl and steroids lab; cross-border drug trade and Utah’s largest meth seizure; and the alleged role in the murder of Colin Reitberger and Anees Amr. Project Arbour concluded on February 15, 2018, when several Calgary homes were searched and arrests were made. “I want to applaud all investigators and officers involved in Project Arbour for helping to keep Alberta communities safe. Thanks to the hard work of ALERT, CPS and their partner agencies, this year-long investigation has taken deadly drugs off our streets,” said Kathleen Ganley, Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “Project Arbour is proof that ALERT’s cooperative approach to policing works.” Project Arbour began shortly after 100 kilograms of meth was found in a vehicle occupied by three Calgary-area men in October 2016. The vehicle was stopped just south of Provo, Utah, and was part of an investigation by Utah Highway Patrol, DEA Los Angeles and DEA Salt Lake City. The seizure was described as the state’s largest meth bust and it is believed the drugs were destined for Canada. Since the record seizure and arrest, ALERT has worked alongside the DEA to share intelligence and enforcement strategies. It is the investigators' belief that the Canadians arrested were couriers and working for a Calgary-based organized crime group under the direction of Allistair Chapman. ALERT further alleges that the group was involved in the importation and exportation of drugs from Alberta, British Columbia, and the United States. Meanwhile, north of the border, a suspected clandestine drub laboratory was located in Calgary as part of the investigation. A garage in the Rosscarrock area was allegedly being used to produce fentanyl and steroid pills. The RCMP’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team dismantled the suspected lab and, in the process, seized a functioning pill press, pill press punch dies, a 50-litre powder mixer, and more than 17 kilograms of various chemical powders. The pill press seized was capable of producing an estimated 18,000 pills an hour and the dies bore the stamps familiar to fentanyl of “80” and “CDN”. The pill press was contaminated with fentanyl and submitted for destruction. The RCMP CLEAR team was later utilized to dismantle a suspected cannabis resin manufacturing lab in the Cougar Ridge neighbourhood, where an additional 500 grams of suspected fentanyl powder was seized along with varying amounts of cannabis products. A total of four search warrants were conducted during Project Arbour. In addition to the large quantities of drugs seized, investigators also seized five firearms – including two shotguns and three rifles – and body armour. CPS has worked closely with ALERT on Project Arbour, as it is believed Colin Reitberger was killed because of his link to the drug trade and Anees Amr was an unintended target. Christian Ouellette was arrested weeks after the shooting in June 2017, and the 20-year-old is allegedly part of Chapman’s criminal organization. Project Arbour yielded evidence to suggest that Blais Delaire, another member of Chapman’s group, assisted Ouellette in obtaining the weapon used in the homicides. Three other members of Chapman’s group were arrested as part of Project Arbour: Matthew Speirs, 24; Drew Mann, 25; and Bryan Livingston, 32. A total of 46 charges have been laid related to drug offences, conspiracy to import/export, firearms trafficking, and participating/instructing a criminal organization.
Project Arbour resulted in the following items being seized:
•18 kilograms of suspected fentanyl powder;
•Pill press and dies;
•50-litre powder mixer;
•7 kilograms of methamphetamine;
•2 kilograms of cocaine;
•700 grams of heroin;
•8.5 kilograms of cannabis products; and
•Two vehicles seized.
The powder substances have been submitted for complete chemical analysis and ALERT is awaiting the full results.