MAJOR BUST - From left

RCMP seize $900,000 worth of property in Red Deer

  • Aug. 24, 2016 7:37 p.m.

Red Deer RCMP have followed up a trio of Priority Crimes Task Force search warrants where large amounts of drugs and cash were seized in April by seizing $900,000 worth of property, including a house and two vehicles, as proceeds of crime.

While four people arrested by the task force on April 13th were charged at that time with multiple counts of drug trafficking and weapons charges, two now face further charges of money laundering and fraud.

Matthew Rose, 31 and Katherine Howe, 21 have been further charged with laundering proceeds of crime, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.

Members of the task force have been on the scene at 87 Towers Close in Red Deer to oversee the seizure of the home, vehicles, and Canadian currency found within the residence.

“After we completed our initial investigation in April, based on evidence for the judicial authorizations and interviews, we determined that a large amount of assets were dervied from the proceeds of crime. The pre-cureser to this was the drugs – the house, cars, cash – we believe that is all from proceeds of drug sales,” said Const. Willian Lewadniuk, lead investigator, of the Red Deer RCMP.

The initial investigation Lewadniuk referenced was conducted by the RCMP Priority Crimes Task Force and addressed as a drug trafficking operation. On April 13th, the investigation culminated in three search warrants that were executed simultaneously on both sides of a duplex in Garrison Circle in Red Deer and the residence in Towers Close.

Police seized two shotguns, over 8kg or marijuana, 1.3kg cocaine, .35kg ecstasy powder, 388 ecstacy pills, almost 1.4kg psilocybin, one litre of hash oil, 88 grams of hash, 44 hash tablets and 240 oxy pills. Police also seized approximately $37,800, large amounts of drug paraphernalia and 21 cell phones.

The continuing investigation by the Red Deer RCMP Fraud Section, in collaboration with the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit and the Civil Asset Forfeiture Program resulted in the property seizure carried out last week.

“From there, we found evidence that Matthew Rose and Katherine Howe had further laundered proceeds of crime through a variety of separate bank accounts and other schemes,” Lewadniuk said.

“This is something that those two were doing before we ever did the initial search in April. This has been a lengthy process. You don’t just happen to come accross this amount of money all at once – you need to build up a certain amount to have a house like this. You don’t just get this off the streets.

“Obviously, this delves more into white collar crime. This is getting above street level at this point, maybe a layer above that. The items that are seized go to a Victims Restitution Front, and from there towns and cities can make applications to have those. For example, I believe the Women’s Shelter utilized items that were secured through Civil Asset Seizure. We’ve restrained the house and most of the contents in it and there will be a disposable date following this that is similar to a trial, but for property. If we don’t have any response, the property will be sold off at auction,” he said.

Corp. Bob Schultz of the Red Deer RCMP said officers were in the home on Towers Close under a search warrant this past April.

“We found evidence that supported these other charges. The sheer volume of evidence we found is what took the time to put together. That’s what (Lewadniuk) has done over the past four or five months. He partnered with our Civil Asset Forefeiture branch of the Alberta government, which helped him to go and secure the affidavit based on his information and that’s how we ended up with the seizure at that point,” said Schultz.

Mayor Tara Veer was on site to bring thanks to the RCMP members and associated investigators.

“One of the priorities in our Annual Policing Plan is reducing organized crime. We know that we have an issue and the establishment of the Regional Priority Crimes Task Force was in direct response to organized crime, not only in Red Deer, but the rest of the region as well,” she said.

“What we are seeing today is a direct result of local priority being placed on reducing organized crime.”

Officials said the seizure was in part thanks to an anonymous tip from a private citizen and encouraged residents to call the RCMP non-emergency line to report information they feel is necessary.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Sentencing postponed in Castor triple homicide

Jason Klaus and Josh Frank will appear in court again Feb. 14th

Creep Catcher member sentenced in Red Deer court Monday

Carl Young to be fined and placed on probation for 12 months, among other conditions

WATCH: Innisfail’s Berkley the bear celebrates first birthday

Discovery Wildlife Park’s newest Kodiak is excited for life this winter

Rebels lose 13th straight against Kamloops

Red Deer hasn’t won on home ice since Oct. 28th, 2017

Kings and Queens sweep Briercrest

RDC basketball is begining to gear up for the ACAC playoffs

WATCH: Setters Place officially opens in advance of the 2019 Canada Games

Red Deer is one step closer to the 2019 Canada Winter Games the opening of Setters Place

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Sentencing postponed in Castor triple homicide

Jason Klaus and Josh Frank will appear in court again Feb. 14th

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

Most Read