Sheriffs shutter drug house in Slave Lake

Drug activity at this property in Slave Lake prompted the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs to obtain a court order barring anyone from the premises for 90 days.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order against the owner of 408 3 Street in Slave Lake that closes the property and bars anyone from entering for 90 days.

The community safety order, which took effect June 28, authorizes the Alberta Sheriffs to board up the house and erect a fence around the property to prevent anyone from entering the premises until the closure period ends on Sept. 26.

“Properties that are a source of drug trafficking and other criminal activity can spread fear and anxiety throughout a small community. I commend the Alberta Sheriffs and the RCMP for working together to help people in Slave Lake take back their neighbourhood and feel safe again.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The property was the subject of multiple complaints from the community, beginning in September 2020. A SCAN investigation confirmed there was drug use and drug trafficking taking place at the property. SCAN investigators initially tried to resolve the complaints in October 2020 by issuing a warning letter to the property owner, who lives elsewhere.

Despite the warning letter, drug activity continued at the property. In January 2021, the RCMP obtained a search warrant for the premises. Police found small quantities of fentanyl and carfentanil and laid charges against one occupant of the home. The RCMP also provided support and information to the SCAN unit’s investigation.

The continued drug activity prompted the SCAN unit to apply for a community safety order in Court of Queen’s Bench, which granted the application on June 14.

In addition to the closure, the order places the property under the SCAN unit’s supervision for two years. After the owner regains access to the property, he must obtain approval from the SCAN unit for any occupants until the community safety order expires on June 28, 2023.

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 nearly 100 community safety orders. The majority of complaints are resolved by working with property owners to keep criminal activity out of the community.