Red Deer RCMP’s Community Response Unit (CRU) has been busy the last few weeks, arresting a number of people for drug trafficking and drug possession, checking in on numerous people on probation or parole to make sure they are meeting their conditions and, in several incidents, seizing weapons, officials with the team have said.
The unit has some specific focuses including monitoring prolific and habitual offenders throughout the City, offering a consistent police presence in the downtown core and focusing attention on specific people and areas where issues are cropping up.
“A disproportionate amount of the crime in any city is committed by a small number of people, most of whom police are quite familiar with,” said Cpl. Leanne Molzahn of the Red Deer RCMP. “The work of CRU is intelligence driven and proactive – we look for patterns of activity and focus extra attention there, and we monitor particular individuals who we know are criminally active.”
CRU monitors a number of people who have been identified as prolific offenders – those who are committing numerous offenses, often breaching current court conditions while committing them, and having a significant impact on the community.
The unit also closely monitors a number of people who have been released after serving their sentences but who have been flagged as a high risk to re-offend; in these cases, the crimes more often included violence or the risk of violence. In both cases, the monitoring includes meetings, followed by regular checks to make sure they are complying with curfews and other court-imposed conditions. It also includes referrals to support agencies that could help them get out of the criminal lifestyle.
“Close monitoring of prolific and high-risk offenders sends a clear message,” said Molzahn. “We’re here to ensure that people are abiding by the conditions of their release, and to enforce the law when they aren’t.”
CRU investigations and arrests in November included on Nov. 13th an investigation of an attempted vehicle theft shortly after 2 a.m. which resulted in a weeks-long joint investigation between CRU and the General Investigation Section (GIS). The investigation led to the arrest of two 19-year-old men in a series of theft and vehicle theft occurrences.
Charges are pending against the two men on a number of files.
On Nov. 24th CRU approached a suspicious vehicle in the downtown McDonald’s parking lot, then arrested the occupant after he fled from police and resisted arrest. The vehicle had a stolen plate, and RCMP seized cocaine, methamphetamine, cash and items related to the sale of drugs.
James Kenneth Riley, 24, of Red Deer has been charged with four counts of possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000, three counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with undertaking and two counts of possession of controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine and methamphetamine).
On Nov. 25th CRU stopped a suspicious vehicle in the Superstore parking lot shortly before 6 p.m. and seized a number of individually wrapped packages of marijuana intended for resale.
Justin Alfonso Urbina, 31, of Red Deer, has been charged with three counts of failing to comply with probation order and possession for the purpose of trafficking (cannabis).
On Nov. 26th CRU stopped a suspicious vehicle at 8:40 p.m. in the area of 49th Ave. and 50th St. Two men in the vehicle were wanted on outstanding warrants and the female driver was in possession of marijuana. RCMP also located a machete in the vehicle. Logan James Link, 21, of Red Deer, has been charged with possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and six other charges including assault, uttering threats and failing to appear – all related to the outstanding warrant.
On Nov. 27th RCMP executed a search warrant at 5:40 p.m. at an apartment building in the area of 49th Ave. and 50th St. after police investigation identified it as a drug house. Police seized significant amounts of crack cocaine and some Canadian currency. They took a total of seven people into custody, most of who were known to police; six were later released without charges. The search warrant was executed by CRU, the GIS drug unit and general duty members.
Paula Margaret Eagles, 50, of Red Deer has been charged with two counts of failing to comply with conditions and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and possession for the purpose of trafficking (cocaine).
“In Red Deer, general duty RCMP members respond to calls for service, while GIS investigates serious and complex crimes,” said Molzahn. “CRU works in between those two important roles.”