The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order that took effect at noon on Nov. 5, closing the house at 71 Stafford Road N for 90 days.
The community safety order granted in Court of Queen’s Bench gave sheriffs the authority to board it up, change the locks and put a fence around the property. No entry is permitted until Feb. 1, 2021.
“Drug houses are a threat to the safety and well-being of our communities. I want to thank the excellent work of Alberta’s law enforcement agencies for shutting down this drug house. The province’s SCAN unit, in partnership with local police, continues to make neighbourhoods in Lethbridge and across Alberta better, safer places to live.”
The SCAN investigation started in October 2019 as the team acted on mounting community complaints associated with the property and substantiated drug activity.
During the course of the SCAN investigation, the Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) also dealt with drug activity on the property. In the first half of 2020, multiple LPS traffic stops of individuals leaving the property turned up significant quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and other illegal substances.
Police executed a search warrant at the property on March 11, and found methamphetamine, fentanyl, pill containers, a weigh scale and other drug paraphernalia.
On July 28, SCAN investigators secured a community safety order against the property owner, who lives on the premises. This order restricted visitors to the property for 60 days and allowed the owner to remain in the home.
Despite this step, surveillance confirmed drug activity continued on-site, with SCAN investigators observing more than 150 visits to the property over a four-day period.
SCAN investigators obtained a second community safety order on Oct. 23, mandating a 90-day closure. The property remains under supervision until Oct. 14, 2021.
The SCAN unit works with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the authority to target problem properties through civil enforcement.
Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated more than 5,800 problem properties and issued more than 80 community safety orders. The majority of complaints are resolved by working with property owners to keep criminal activity out of the community.