An investigation started by the Winnipeg Police Service has led to a multi-million dollar drug bust in Alberta.
Calgary police seized nearly $10 million worth of methamphetamine and cocaine. Investigators allege a drug courier had been moving shipments from eastern Ontario across the Prairies to Alberta.
On Jan. 30, the Calgary police zeroed in on a vehicle southeast of Drumheller, Alta. near the Hamlet of Dorothy. Officers arrested the driver and found nearly 100 kilograms of illegal drugs in bags in the back of a pickup truck, 47 kilograms of cocaine and 47 kilograms of meth.
The cocaine is estimated to be worth $4.69 million and the meth $4.75 million, police said, with a potential to make around $10 million on the streets.
"It's a very large seizure for us,” said Calgary Police Service Staff Sgt. Kyle Grant. “We were very fortunate to come across this and intercept this shipment before it's able to hit the streets."
The Winnipeg Police Service said the investigation, dubbed “Project Sasquatch,” started in Manitoba in October 2019, before being handed over to officers in Calgary.
The head of the WPS guns and gangs unit, Insp. Max Waddell, said it first uncovered details last October that an interprovincial drug courier was moving multiple kilograms of meth, cocaine, fentanyl and heroin.
Investigators allege the drugs were being shipped in a vehicle with drop-offs made in Winnipeg.
"It's our belief that there was definitely more that was with that individual, however, as he continued to cross the Prairie provinces there was mostly likely additional drugs that had left his possession and this is what we had ended up with," said Waddell.
Winnipeg police believe the accused has ties to organized crime.
Waddell said while it's a significant seizure, it's not the only meth that’s been flowing into Manitoba. He also said enforcement alone won't slow the city’s meth epidemic.
"We have to help individuals who are struggling with both mental and physical addiction challenges and get them the help they need, because when we cut off that demand, there will no longer be the requirement for the supply chain," he said. “That’s the only way we’re ever going to solve this.”
Calgary police said it's one of the largest busts its officers have made in the past 20 years and the investigation isn't over yet.
"There are many avenues we need to look at it,” said Grant. “We need to find out who the group or groups are and who's involved."
Calgary police said it’s unclear at this time exactly where the drugs originated.
Jacob Cody Neumann, 33, of Calgary has been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb.8.
Police encouraged anyone struggling with addiction to see help, referring people in need to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba website.