Sheriffs close Edmonton drug house
Alberta Sheriffs investigators have shut down a drug house on a residential street in northeast Edmonton that was the scene of a homicide and ongoing criminal activity that resulted in 31 police visits in 2017.
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit obtained a court order giving investigators authority to close the property at 11838 54 Street for 90 days. The property will be boarded up, the locks will be changed and a fence will be erected around the house. The owner and any occupants are required to vacate the property for that period.
“SCAN’s important work targeting properties that are associated with criminal activity keeps communities safe and secure for all Albertans. I commend the SCAN unit for its diligent work on this case.”
The SCAN unit began its investigation in January 2017 in response to a complaint about drug activity. SCAN members obtained evidence pointing to drug use, particularly a high number of people coming and going from the property.
In early July 2017, a woman suffered serious injuries during a shooting at the property. SCAN investigators issued a letter to the property owner on July 12, warning him that SCAN would seek a court order to close the house if the criminal activity continued.
On Aug. 2, 2017, a male suspect fatally stabbed a man during a fight in the front yard, prompting an Edmonton Police Service (EPS) homicide investigation. SCAN continued its investigation and gathered evidence of ongoing drug activity between August and November 2017.
In addition to creating an unsafe environment for residents of the community, the ongoing criminal activity was a significant drain on police resources. EPS responded to 31 incidents at the property in 2017, including drug calls, disturbances, assaults and the homicide.
SCAN worked in conjunction with the EPS to obtain a Community Safety Order (CSO) in Court of Queen’s Bench on March 15, 2018. As well as closing the property for 90 days, the order bans the property owner from having any visitors or tenants for two years without approval from SCAN.
SCAN works with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities. SCAN investigations are conducted by sheriffs with specialized training to enforce the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, which gives them the option of targeting problem properties through civil enforcement.
Since its inception in 2008, SCAN has investigated more than 4,200 problem properties across Alberta and has issued 72 CSOs. The majority of complaints are resolved informally, with no need for legal action, by working with property owners to resolve issues.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: SCAN Insp. Chip Sawchuk will be available between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for on-camera interviews at 11838 54 Street, Edmonton.