Police seize drugs and stolen property in bust
Camrose Police Service Det. Shawn Lofgren and Camrose RCMP Cpl. Isaac Verbaas pose with Items seized a traffic stop and the search of a property in Camrose County. Supplied
With one traffic stop, Camrose Police Service and Camrose RCMP believe they have taken a big player in the drug trafficking and theft scene off the road.
Police originally tried to stop a car entering Camrose at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 28, but the car did not stop and was pursued into the downtown core.
Once he was finally pulled over, a search resulted of a seizure of 25.4 g of methamphetamine, 1.3 g of heroine found on the suspect and another two ounces of methamphetamine, 400 mL of GHB, 2.4g of what police believe to be fentanyl found inside the vehicle. They also found other indicators of drug trafficking inside the vehicle as well as numerous break-in tools including a grinder, prybar, chisels, gloves and bolt cutters. In addition, inside the vehicle was stolen identification of two different Camrose Coutu residents. The street value on the drugs is about $11,000.
The suspect was already out on bail from a previous drug trafficking charge in an Edmonton case, and he was arrested and taken into custody and charged with 12 different counts.
The traffic stop led to a search of a Camrose County property associated with the suspect and a large quantity of stolen property and potentially stolen property was discovered. Charges are currently pending in the relation to the search warrant.
CPS Sgt. John Corbett, who is in charge of the major crimes unit, says CPS has two major initiatives this year, the theft of vehicles and synthetic drugs.
"This investigation achieved success on both fronts in that we were able to get a prolific offender off the streets who was active I both drugs and property crimes," he said.
The search warrant was carried out on a property on Highway 833 north of Camrose by CPS and RCMP. They discovered stolen property from three rural churches, including a fire extinguisher and silver communion set from Wilhelmina Lutheran Church and speakers and a microphone from St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.
"This isn't the first time I've seen it, it was likely done over the course of a week or a couple of nights when most of these churches were broken into," said Cpl. Isaac Verbaas of the Camrose RCMP. "Most of these churches are not in active use – one or two services a year."
Other stolen property includes a Cannondale Mountain bike valued at $2,200 stolen from the city of Camrose in September of 2017 from outside of a residence, and a large number of speaker and audio equipment. There were a number of weapons also recovered including a sawed off Ruger .22 rifle stolen from Wetaskiwin in 2015 and likely altered after the theft as a prohibited firearm, two long barrel Cooey shotguns, ammunition, a number of edged weapons, a prohibited bullet proof vest and four airsoft pistols that are akin to a firearm. They also found a set of lock picks.
There were other items found that police could not confirm were stolen, including three dirt bikes, a blue Air Liquide wielder, a Water Wacker pressure washer, a gas powered auger engine, and numerous propane tanks of different sizes.
The search was a combined effort by the two police forces and underlines their commitment to work together.
"Here we have so many challenges that we have to overcome in order to be more successful to fight crime," said Verbass. "It is only natural that we work together to help us solve crime."
Jason Quinn Swanson, 47, of Camrose County has been charged with two counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking, two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Break-In Instruments, Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Criminal Flight, two counts of Possession of Stolen Property, and three counts of Fail to Comply with a Recognizance. He was due in Camrose Court on Wednesday for an election of plea and then back to Edmonton on March 16 for the charges from Oct. 26, 2017. None of the charges have been proven in court.
The police are not pursuing any other suspects at this time though they encourage the public to come forward if they have more information regarding people involved in these crimes.
CPS encourages public participation in reporting any suspicious activity they may see in the community.
"We can't be eyes and ears in every part of the city at all times," said CPS crime prevention and community relations officer Cst. Kelly Bauer. "A lot of the time we have people calling in the smallest thing that is the piece of the puzzle we're looking for."