Four firearms, including an AK-47 rifle, were seized in Red Deer as part of a fentanyl trafficking investigation. Three people were charged, including an armed robbery suspect.
ALERT Red Deer’s organized crime team and the RCMP’s Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) collaborated on the year-long investigation, which concluded with arrests in late September 2023. The investigation resulted in more than $325,000 worth of drugs seized.
Three people were arrested, including a suspect believed to have been responsible for the Innisfail Super 8 robbery that occurred on May 29, 2023. Brandon Robertson, 27, was arrested for the robbery-related offences on June 6, 2023. ALERT alleges Robertson was also involved in drug trafficking, and despite his arrest, the investigation proceeded and additional suspects were identified.
Three Red Deer homes were ultimately searched, resulting in a large amount of drugs and firearms being seized, including:
- AK-47 rifle with magazine;
- Three handguns and prohibited magazines;
- 1,573 grams of fentanyl;
- 78 grams of methamphetamine;
- 34 grams of cocaine;
- 265 grams of a cocaine buffing agent; and
- 32 oxycodone and morphine pills.
The AK-47, which is banned in Canada, was seized from an apartment in the Clearview Ridge neighbourhood along with various amount of ammunition. How the semi-automatic rifle was acquired is being further investigated. Meanwhile, one of the handguns seized was confirmed to have been previously stolen in the Vermillion, Alta. area.
“A seizure like this shows the nexus of violence and the drug trade. Taking firearms out of the hands of organized crime prevents anyone from being further victimized and ensures our community remains a safe place,” said Insp. Brad Lundeen, ALERT.
“Officers from ALERT and RCMP’s Central Alberta Crime Reduction Team worked seamlessly to identify and target a group criminal actively engaged in robbery and drug trafficking in our province. The abundance of weapons seized further identifies the risk that these individuals pose to our community,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, RCMP.
Brandon Robertson, 27, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, numerous firearms offences, and failure to comply with release conditions.
Adrian Lazzaro, 41, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Nicholas Wales, 26, is charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of an unauthorized firearm, and possession of an unauthorized device.
Robertson remains in custody after his bail was denied. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 5, 2024. Lazzaro and Wales were both released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court on November 30, 2023.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.