After months of investigation, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) seized about $150,000 in a drug trafficking investigation in Fort McMurray.
On July 5, 2023, police officers executed a search warrant in two homes in the Northern Alberta community under suspicion of being in possession of drugs. Fort McMurray’s ALERT team did a search accompanied by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Wood Buffalo on the building in the Lower Townsite and a house in Westview Heights. The teams seized cash of around $5800, 1.6 kilograms of cocaine, and 675 Percocet pills, including a fake firearm.
The case began in March 2023 after receiving a tip about drug trafficking in the community. During the investigation, the police identified several locations, including an alleged secret stash.
The police apprehended a 37-year-old suspect, Hassan Kourani, after being caught with cocaine and drug trafficking. He was also seen trying to hide cocaine underbrush near his parked car.
Staff Sgt. Mark Wait said drug traffickers always find creative methods to smuggle their goods. The suspect is expected to make an appearance in court on August 22.
Even in February, the police arrested two people in Fort McMurray for allegedly being involved in drug trafficking after nearly two months of investigation. In January, the ALERT team began the investigation and successfully busted an alleged drug dealer and supplier in the neighborhood.
Following a search warrant issued on February 10 in a Lower Townsite apartment, the police seized nearly $20,300 worth of cocaine and cash. S/Sgt. Ryan Harrison said the apartment was allegedly used to make crack cocaine, which is highly addictive and can result in serious consequences, including violence.
The two arrested were Trenton Goebel from Fort McMurray and Ramzi Ibrahim of Edmonton, with multiple charges.
34-year-old Ramzi Ibrahim was charged with two counts of drug trafficking, production of crack, possession of assets of crime, and possession of a controlled substance for illicit drug trafficking.
Whereas 58-year-old Trenton Goebel was charged with two counts of drug distribution.
Fort McMurray’s Reputation In Drug Trade
Fort McMurray is a well-known small town in Canada with some of the wealthiest residents, but it has a reputation for drug trafficking cases, which is a severe issue. The drug trade in this town is a significant operation, and substance abuse is massive. Moreover, the supply of exotic illegal substances to the wealthy, chiefly for entertainment, is alarming. However, measures are taken regularly by the police to prevent further expansion and use of these illegal substances in the community.
There have also been several substance abuse cases in the past, and drug trafficking investigation around the community has led to the arrest of several drug dealers and suppliers. One of the longest drug-busting cases in Fort McMurray was a year-long investigation, which began in June 2021 and closed on September 2022, where the police arrested three people and seized around $500,000 cash and drugs.
Fort McMurray’s ALERT team led the investigation project with assistance from the Wood Buffalo RCMP. Both teams work together to investigate and eliminate drug dealing activity, violence, and exploitation in the community. They’re an umbrella agency that collaborates with police agencies to make the neighborhood safer.
If you know someone associated with criminal activity, is a victim, or any suspicious activity in your area, you can contact the local police or send an anonymous tip. Your act can be of significant help in handling or investigating severe crimes.
Substance Abuse Charges In Canada
The consequences of drug trafficking vary depending on the seriousness of the crime, and it can be a penalty, monetary fine, or life imprisonment.
Substance abuse is a serious crime and is acted upon immediately, be it drug possession, possession for trafficking, or drug dealing.
In Canada, drug offense laws are determined based on several factors that help in deciding the sentencing, such as:
· First time offense.
· If the crime is an indictable offense, a summary, or a hybrid.
· Whether the minors were involved.
· If a person was dealing drugs at a nearby prison, or
· If a person was exporting controlled substance at a nearby location or outdoor areas frequented by minors.
The Criminal Code of Canada has a structured policy to determine the appropriate punishment for criminal offenses.
The punishment for possessing Schedule I drugs (cocaine, heroin, and crack) is imprisonment for a maximum of seven years, and trafficking can face up to life imprisonment.
Possession of Schedule II drugs (marijuana and hash) less than 3 kg can face five years in jail, but the penalty above 3 kg is life imprisonment.
Possession of Schedule III drugs (hallucinogens, LSD) without a prescription or legal license can face three years in jail and for trafficking ten years.
Possession or trafficking of Schedule IV drugs like steroids can face up to three years in jail.