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Traffic stop leads to drug bust west of Calgary

Fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in a vehicle during a vehicle check this weekend in Mînî Thnî

A traffic stop west of Calgary on the weekend led to a seizure of drugs and weapons.

On Saturday (March 23), Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda RCMP stopped a vehicle in the community for displaying a licence plate that did not match the vehicle, which resulted in a seizure of 15 grams, or 150 doses, of fentanyl and 17 grams, or 170 doses, of methamphetamine.

“The individual was pulled over and there were visible signs of drugs within the vehicle,” said RCMP public information officer Cst. Kelsey Davidge. “They were arrested under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and multiple charges were laid in relation to that, as well as multiple weapons and drugs seized within the vehicle.”

Tylen Owen Beaver, a 31-year-old resident of Mînî Thnî (Morley), was remanded into custody and charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, four weapons-related offences and four counts of failing to comply with release order offences. A release from RCMP noted brass knuckles and a folding knife were among the weapons confiscated. 

“The RCMP is committed to combatting illegal sales of opioids and preventing overdoses,” said Îyârhe Nakoda RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Chad Fournier in the release.

Beaver was held for a judicial interim hearing and then released. He is expected to appear in Cochrane Court of Justice Tuesday (April 2). 

The drug bust is one of the latest in RCMP cracking down on persistent drug trafficking issues on the Nation. 

On Dec. 19, 2023, a pick-up truck that fled eastbound from police attempting a traffic stop on Highway 1A in Mînî Thnî eventually led to a seizure of 50 grams of fentanyl and other drug-related items. The fentanyl seizure constituted about 500 individual doses, with an estimated street value of $10,000.

Earlier in the year, on Oct. 24, a vehicle that cut off another motorist on Mînî Thnî Road was stopped by RCMP. A search of the vehicle resulted in RCMP confiscating 80 grams of meth, representing 800 individual doses.

RCMP further seized a total of 22.4 grams of fentanyl in two separate traffic stops on the Nation in September. Also seized were over 6.6 grams of meth, cocaine, as well as oxycocet, gabapentin, clonazepam, and suboxone tablets, in addition to drug trafficking-related items.

RCMP also responded to 10 overdose deaths in Mînî Thnî in 2023. This does not include responses by AHS EMS or unreported overdose fatalities. The community has a population of about 4,000 people, according to the latest available Statistics Canada info. 

Of the fatal overdoses reported by RCMP in 2023, three were confirmed over May 3-4, prompting local emergency services to warn community members about a toxic drug supply. It was noted at the time that administered naloxone was ineffective in treating the overdoses, suggesting drugs were laced with other unknown substances.

A province-wide warning issued by Alberta RCMP on Dec. 27, 2023, at the end of what was the province’s deadliest year for overdose deaths on record, noted many overdoses that officers responded to appeared to be tied to the practice of dealers cutting fentanyl and other opioids to create a cheap, but dangerous, high.

At least 1,706 people in Alberta were killed as a result of overdose in 2023, according to data released by the province’s substance use surveillance system. That is an average of four deaths per day. 

“Fentanyl is so lethal and there’s a much higher risk of overdosing because it can be 100 times more potent than morphine. Meth can be laced with fentanyl so when a user thinks they are doing their normal amount of meth, they actually are consuming fentanyl as well, which can result in an overdose,” said Cpl. Kyle Ashe with Cochrane RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit in an email to the Outlook in January. 

“The other issue is the creation of fentanyl in homemade labs where there is no guarantee of the potency and one hit may kill you.”

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.

About the Author: Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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