Calgary

Calgary police charge 22 people in operation tied to drug trafficking at CTrain stations

Calgary police say they have charged 22 people with 115 criminal charges after conducting an undercover operation targeting drug traffickers operating at CTrain stations in the city.

Police lay 115 criminal charges, seizing crack cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs

Commuters use Calgary's CTrain in this 2008 file photo. Calgary police say they have charged 22 people with 115 criminal charges tied to drug trafficking at CTrain stations. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Calgary police say they have charged 22 people with 115 criminal charges after conducting an undercover operation targeting drug traffickers operating at CTrain stations in the city.

As a result of that operation, which began in March, police say they seized crack cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, psilocybin and unknown pills.

Police said they noted an increase in calls at CTrain stations related to "drug use, overdoses and drug-related violence" earlier this year.

Insp. Jeremy Wittman, in charge of the criminal network section of the Calgary police, said the operation involved the use of undercover officers present on CTrain platforms.

Officers were approached by citizens who would then offer to sell them narcotics, he said. 

Once that transaction had occurred, the individuals were identified, arrested and charged.

"If they were identified as having any sort of mental health or addictions issues, they were provided with specific resources as well to help them with those issues," Wittman said.

Throughout the investigation, which ran from March 22 to April 1, charges were laid, including trafficking of a controlled substance, possession of property obtained by crime, breach of a court order and possession of prohibited weapon.

Police said eight of those charged were also wanted on a total of 77 unrelated warrants for previous offences and court breaches.

Wittman said police would continue to seek to "improve the quality of the experience citizens have on Calgary Transit."

"We hope for everyone to feel more safe," he said.

Coun. Sonya Sharp, representing Ward 1, says the city needs to provide better access to resources at city transit stations. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp, who joined peace officers for a ride along on Calgary Transit last week, said she was pleased to see the work being done by police.

"Moving forward, as a councillor I know I need to be working a little bit closer with my colleagues to work with the province on mental health, addictions and what other supports we can give," she said.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said the charges represented a positive joint effort between citizens and police to interrupt drug supply. 

However, she added that more work needs to be done to combat the drug crisis that arrests alone won't solve.

"We do have an addictions problem that needs a continuum of care," she said.

"That continuum starts with prevention and ends with treatment, but along the road there is all the supports that are needed, including supervised consumption sites."

A spokesperson with the city declined an interview request for Calgary Transit.

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