BARRHEAD - Barrhead RCMP arrested three people and seized a sizeable quantity of illicit drugs, multiple firearms and items stolen from the local high school while executing a March 14 search warrant.
Barrhead RCMP, with the aid of the Eastern Alberta Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) along with officers from the Swan Hills and the Parkland RCMP dog unit, executed the search warrants on two Barrhead residences — one on 50th Street and one on 48A Street. The operation started shortly after 9 a.m., and concluded roughly around noon.
To quell fears about potential public safety concerns from the public, Barrhead RCMP issued a Barrhead and Area Regional Crime Coalition (BARCC) alert informing residents about the ongoing police activity in the area.
Barrhead RCMP Sgt. Bob Dodds said the execution of the search warrant is the result of several months of work, however, police ramped up their efforts starting in early January.
"It is one of those situations where everyone knows it is a drug house, and as a result, the perception is that police are not doing anything because we can't necessarily broadcast our efforts," he said. "But the fact is that it takes a lot of work to get the necessary information to get a search warrant. Obviously, we are very pleased with the results."
As part of the searches, RCMP confiscated more than 350 grams of illegal narcotics, including substances believed to be cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and fentanyl, 70 cartons of illegal cigarettes, five firearms, 11 stolen laptop and notebook computers from Barrhead Composite High School (BCHS), $2,500 in cash and a stolen bicycle also taken from BCHS Jan. 16. Police have returned the bicycle to its owner.
As the result of the searches, Randy Blake Wiebe, a 65-year-old Barrhead resident, has been charged with eight offences, including possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, possessing cigarettes not marked for tax paid sale and four firearms offences.
Also arrested was Nicole Sandra Bombay, a 26-year-old Barrhead resident. She is facing charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, possession of cigarettes not marked for tax-paid sale and two firearms offences.
RCMP also arrested a 70-year-old Barrhead woman and charges are pending.
Wiebe was remanded into custody, while Bombay was released on conditions and both will appear in Barrhead Provincial Court March 21.
Dodds reiterated that he understands the public’s frustration about the property crime that is happening due to drugs and drug addiction.
“We know these houses are there and we are working on arresting drug traffickers all the time,” he said. “But it takes a lot to gather the evidence to support a search warrant and when we do, we are going to go.”
Barry Kerton, TownandCountryToday.com