Police say they have hampered efforts by a B.C. drug trafficking gang known as the Red Scorpions to expand into central and southern Alberta.
Search warrants were executed last week in Airdrie, Red Deer and Calgary, leading to the arrest of one gang member and three associate members, RCMP said Monday.
"In Alberta the drug market has been strong. Recently we have seen B.C.-based gang members trying to gain a foothold in the Alberta market," said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.
"We have people associated with organized crime groups, particularly in the Lower Mainland, escaping violence or the threat of violence in their community, and also they see Alberta as a lucrative market for drug expansion due to the disposable income in our province."
The investigation was a coordinated effort among Red Deer and Airdrie RCMP, the Calgary Police Service and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT).
Police say a 29-year-old man originally from B.C. is a member of the Red Scorpions and allegedly at the centre of a drug trafficking network operating in Alberta. He was arrested in at a home in the Balmoral Heights neighbourhood, just outside Red Deer, and faces a total of 14 drug and weapons related charges.
Also charged were three people described as associate members of the gang: a 52-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman. Additional charges and arrests may be coming, police say.
In addition to the home outside Red Deer, RCMP searched homes in Calgary's Thorncliffe neighbourhood and Airdrie's Channelside area, uncovering drugs, guns and cash.
"Gangs by any name operate on the same principal – to maximize profits from illegal activity. This goal is attempted through intimidation, violence and preying on the drug-addicted in the ongoing struggle for control of artificial drug territory and turf," said Schiavetta.
The Red Scorpions were named in a trial over a mass shooting in Surrey, B.C. seven years ago.