The parents of two young children are facing drug, firearm and child endangerment charges after police searched a "very nice" southwest Edmonton home and found fentanyl pills, marijuana, several firearms and $90,000 cash.
The children — an 18-month-old toddler and a three-month-old infant — were apprehended by the Child at Risk Response Team, Edmonton police said Wednesday.
The man and woman were arrested and charged on Friday, following a four-month police investigation.
Search warrants for a home in the Windermere neighbourhood were expedited after investigators learned that two children, an infant and a toddler, were also residing in the southwest Edmonton residence and potentially at risk, police spokesperson Scott Pattison said.
Investigators who searched the home found 109 fentanyl pills, marijuana in various forms, two handguns and more than $90,000 in cash.
At an availability with reporters, Pattison was asked if it is rare for Edmonton police to find children in homes that are the focus of drug trafficking investigations.
Children now 'in a safe place'
"To be honest, drug dealers don't usually have consciences, right?" Pattison said.
"So to be frank ... they're driven by money, by addiction, and sometimes the vulnerable get caught up in their actions.
"As soon as our investigators learned that there were young children in the house, and there was evidence [the parents] were trafficking in very dangerous opioids like fentanyl, the search warrants were expedited. We wanted to make sure those children were safe.
"They are now in a safe place with family members."
Pattison said the couple lived in "a very nice house, which may be lost to civil forfeiture now."
He said the case illustrates that crime in Edmonton is not restricted to "some neighbourhoods north of the river" as some people may believe.
"We have people who are doing their deeds in very nice neighbourhoods, so I guess if anything, the message is to always be aware of who your neighbours are, and report any suspicious behaviour — especially with respect to constant people coming and going — to police."
The parents can't be named to protect the identities of the children, police said. They have since been released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 27.
The parents face these charges:
- Two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking (fentanyl and marijuana)
- Production of a controlled substance (marijuana grow)
- Simple possession (THC gummies)
- Two counts of possession of a restricted firearm
- Two counts of careless storage of a firearm
- Possession of a loaded firearm
- Prohibited magazine
- Firearm with serial number defaced
- Two counts of possession of body armour under the Body Armour Control Act
- Two counts of causing a child to be in need of intervention under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act
- Two counts of abandoning/exposing a child to risk under the Drug Endangered Children Act