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Friday, 06 October 2017 05:48

RCMP achieving goal to take drugs off Swift Current streets

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The RCMP has taken a significant amount of drugs off Swift Current streets since the start of April.

Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges and Sgt. Kelly Guider of the RCMP detachment in Swift Current provided an update about the policing efforts in the community during a regular council meeting, Sept. 25.
The detachment's annual performance plan for the period April 2017 to March 2018 includes targets for the number of drug and impaired driving charges to be laid during the year, and officers have been successful in achieving these goals.
Their target is 40 charges for impaired driving for the year and so far there have been 17 charges. The detachment's goal is 56 drug related charges for the year, and 36 charges have already been laid.
“These 36 charges have resulted in 63 different seizures involving drugs with different street values,” Staff Sgt. Hodges said. “Quite personally I'm proud of the guys and the work that they've done under some trying circumstances this summer.”
Since April 1 there were 20 seizures of cannabis marijuana with a street value of $120,993 and 16 seizures of methamphetamine or crystal meth with a street value of $9,496. There were nine seizures of fentanol with a street value $7,865 and 11 seizures of cocaine valued at $2,946.
The other single seizures were for heroin ($280), MDMA or ecstasy ($280), hydromorph ($201), anabolic steroids ($150), OxyContin ($110), and magic mushrooms or Psilocybin ($20). The total value of these drug seizures since April is $142,341 and officers will continue with their efforts to take drugs off city streets.
“We also seized over $7,000 in cash as a result of proceeds of crime, three vehicles and five firearms,” he said. “We're well on track. We hope to continue down that path.”
Staff Sgt. Hodges noted that the detachment might be holding a town hall meeting in the community.
“We're looking at doing that to give the citizens in the community an opportunity to voice any concerns or ideas they may have about policing from the city to me,” he said.
Sgt. Guider provided some additional details about different seizures that were made during the past months. The previous police dog officer left Swift Current in December and the detachment did not have the services of a police dog until late June, when the new police dog team arrived.
The new officer was still unpacking on June 26 when he was asked to provide assistance during a conditions check at a home in the city, where the police dog helped them to recover some drugs and one person was taken into custody.
The officer and his dog again provided assistance the following day with the execution of a search warrant, and one person was arrested at a house.
“We were looking for drugs, but we came out there with three prohibited firearms as well as a combination of drugs,” Sgt. Guider said. “There was cocaine and I believe that was the fentanyl seizure as well. It was an extremely good file for us that really set the tone for us too for the summer. ... We're looking at a very serious seizure. The entire situation was dangerous. I think it really motivated our crew. Everybody was very dedicated through the summer.”
Officers also arrested three other individuals on June 27 when they stopped a vehicle. They found some drugs in the vehicle and a few prohibited weapons, as well as a homemade stun gun.
In late August the RCMP seized drugs and arrested four people at a home in the city. Two of these individuals were arrested earlier in the month near Herbert for drug possession and they were therefore not obeying their release conditions.
The largest drug seizure since April took place on Sept. 15, after two officers received information about the possible transportation of drugs through the city. They made a vehicle stop on the Trans-Canada Highway and seized 40 pounds of cannabis marijuana.
“Two individuals were arrested out of that investigation and that's one of the vehicles as well that we seized,” he mentioned. “It's probably a $80,000 truck. So we're hoping that will have a significant impact as well.”
Councillors had an opportunity to ask questions after the RCMP presentation. Councillor Pat Friesen was concerned over vehicle break-ins. Sgt. Guider said it is important for residents to lock their vehicles, as there are individuals who will do “car shopping” during the night.
“It used to be certain neighbourhoods that were targeted, but it's pretty much all over the city now,” he said. “It doesn't really matter what neighbourhood you're living in. We're reminding the public – you need to lock your stuff. To date we haven't had any vehicle windows being smashed, but definitely the theft from the vehicles is a bit on the rise. I would say that the public awareness and the social media accounts that are spreading the word certainly are giving a lot more attention to the issue though.”

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Matthew Liebenberg