ARRESTS MADE - Sarah Knelsen of the Red Deer RCMP and Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of ALERT- Calgary explain how Red Deer RCMP

Coordinated police effort ends with local drug bust

  • Jul. 30, 2014 4:21 p.m.

An alleged member of the Red Scorpions gang and three alleged associate members were arrested last week after a coordinated series of warrants in Red Deer County, Airdrie and Calgary.

A press conference was held Monday at the Red Deer RCMP detachment where Cpl. Sarah Knelsen of the Red Deer RCMP and Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of ALERT-Calgary explained how Red Deer RCMP, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), Calgary Police Services, and Airdrie RCMP members executed the warrants on July 23rd.

The investigation focused on the Red Scorpions drug trafficking operation and their infiltration of the Alberta market, said Knelsen.

Cory James Lesperance, a 29-year-old man originally from B.C., is an alleged member of the Red Scorpions and is alleged to be at the centre of a drug trafficking network operating in Alberta, she said. Lesperance faces a total of 14 drug and weapons related charges.

Lesperance was arrested at a residence in the Balmoral Heights neighbourhood just outside Red Deer city limits, where two firearms were found, along with a large amount of drugs.

Police say he is currently bound by two firearm prohibitions and a recognizance order stemming from a previous drug and weapons investigation in November 2013.

Three others were also arrested in the search warrants: Robin Joseph Stewart, 52, who faces eight charges; Nicholas David James White, 21, faces six charges and Amber McLeod, 23, faces four charges.

All four will be in Provincial Court in Red Deer on Thursday. Police say additional charges and arrests may also be forthcoming.

“This investigation exemplifies the ALERT model and the ability to bring together our province’s most sophisticated policing resources to tackle drug trafficking operations that was spread across multiple jurisdictions,” said Schiavetta, who added that police information suggests that Lesperance and his associates have been active in establishing their presence and drug distribution network in Calgary, Airdrie, and Red Deer.

As seen by the weapons seized, Schiavetta said it’s clear those involved were willing to resort to violence. “It should be a great relief to members of this community and the other communities that these individuals are now in police custody.”

In addition to the Red Deer County home, search warrants were executed at a Calgary home and residence Airdire. The search warrants were executed by RCMP “K” Division Emergency Response Team and CPS Tactical team.

The search warrants yielded a number of firearms and drugs, including 512 grams of methamphetamine; 517 grams of cocaine; 52 grams of heroin; 264 grams of marihuana, 80 grams of psilocybin, 13 vials equaling 130 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a cocaine conversion lab, scales, packaging, and other drug paraphernalia, a loaded semi-automatic handgun, a stolen shotgun with ammunition, three replica handguns, $8,955 in cash and two vehicles.

Police say investigation was initiated in June by the Red Deer RCMP Street Team and expedited between the partnering agencies to address public safety concerns relating to gang activity.

“Gangs by any name operate on the same principle – maximize profits through illegal activity. This goal is attempted through intimidation, violence and preying on the drug-addicted and the ongoing struggle for control of drug territory and turf.”

He added that police has seen more B.C. based gang members trying to gain footholds in the Alberta market.

“Gangs affect every community in our province, and the risk they pose to public safety is extreme and will not be tolerated.

“We want gang members in other provinces to realize that Alberta is not a friendly place to do business.”

Members of the public who have concern about gang activity in their community can contact police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Just Posted

FCC host forum featuring sportscaster Brian Williams

The forum is part hopes to educate, reenergerize, inspire and inform producers

Country star Brett Kissel releases new album

Kissel excited to make a stop in Red Deer

Westerner Park takes home international prize for Urban Farm Project

Organizer said she wanted to create an urban farm that would connect urban dwellers to agriculture

Glamorous Red Deer clothing on display

Red Deer MAG showcases stylish dresses worn through the City’s history

Santa launches holiday blood drive at Red Deer clinic

The Berry Family was on site to encourage others to give blood

CP Holiday Train steams into Lacombe

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train delighted residents of Lacombe on Dec. 6

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Higher winds could complicate California wildfire fight

The expected strength of the winds have reached uncharted territory

North Korea says war is inevitable

North Korea says war is inevitable as allies continue war games

UPDATE: Al Franken resigns from Senate amid allegations

Announcement coming from Sen. Franken amid fresh accusations

Australian Parliament allows same-sex marriages

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said 62 per cent of registered voters favoured reform.

YouTube Canada Reveals the top videos of 2017

From a sea lion that got a bit too frisky to a toddler stealing popcorn from Prince Harry - we watched it all

Canadians urged to exercise caution in Middle East ahead of protests

Protests are in reaction to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Feds planning to push back delivery date for new fighter jets: sources

The Liberals had planned to buy 18 Super Hornets

Most Read