News / Edmonton

Drug house in north Edmonton shut down

SCAN unit closes property frequented by drug users and dealers.

Insp. Chip Sawchuk stands outside the house closed due to a community safety order.


Insp. Chip Sawchuk stands outside the house closed due to a community safety order.

Alberta's Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods unit has shut down a known drug house in north Edmonton, using a community safety order that bars people from the house for 90 days.

SCAN is part of the Alberta Sheriff’s branch and has a unique mandate to deal with drug activity by targeting property, not people, explained Insp. Chip Sawchuk with the unit.

Sawchuk said SCAN started investigating the tan-coloured bungalow on 137 Ave last April, after receiving complaints that the owner and his girlfriend were involved in drug activity.

It didn’t take investigators long to confirm the couple were linked to both drug and prostitution activity, Sawchuk said. That resulted in SCAN sending a warning letter to the owner.

“We like to work with people to obtain a solution, without shutting the property down,” he said Thursday.

But Sawchuk said a week after that, investigators observed a woman living in the house allegedly sell drugs to a man in a car.

Police stopped the driver and seized 71 fentanyl pills, 25.5 grams of methamphetamine, as well as heroin, cocaine and cash.

The driver was charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

That's when SCAN went to the Court of Queen’s Bench to obtain a community safety order, which in addition to keeping everyone out for 90 days, bans visitors for the next year.

Targeting property, not people, adds to the effectiveness, Sawchuk said.

“Speaking from my police background, often you’ll charge somebody for a criminal offence but they can be back in that house after being let out on bail a week later, or tw days later, and they can start up the activity again,” he said.

“This is another remedy available to law enforcement to stop this type of activity.”  

Sawchuk said SCAN has received about 330 complaints in Northern Alberta so far this year.

Since the unit was started in 2008 they’ve obtained 26 community safety orders.

No other charges are currently pending against the occupants of the house.

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