Nine people are facing a total of 73 charges following an 18-month investigation into what police are calling "a violent drug trafficking network operating in Calgary and throughout Western Canada."

The investigation was started in early 2020 by the Calgary police guns and gangs unit, targeting those thought to be contributing to a rise in gun violence in the city.

Members of the Saskatoon Integrated Crime Reduction Team (S-ICRT), a joint taskforce between the Saskatoon Police Service and Saskatchewan RCMP, were also involved.

"Through intelligence, we identified several individuals believed to be working together in a sophisticated drug traffic network," CPS said in a release.

"Investigators allege that this network had been engaged in conflict with a rival drug trafficking network in the city, and that combined, the two groups were responsible for more than 20 violent events in Calgary that spanned just over a year, including a double homicide that occurred in April 2019."

That led to 23 search warrants being executed on residences and vehicles in Calgary, Banff, and Saskatoon between April 2020 and May of this year.

A number of items were seized, including:

  • Six firearms, including a rifle with a modified barrel and prohibited magazine and a replica Glock handgun with a 3D-printed receiver;
  • Five airsoft guns, realistic in appearance to real firearms;
  • More than $300,000 in Canadian currency;
  • A BMW X5, which was equipped with a sophisticated hydraulic trapdoor that contained one of the seized firearms. Investigators also believe that the trapdoor was used to store and transport other illicit items, and;
  • More than $55,000 worth of drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl pills and patches, crack cocaine, marijuana, phenacetin, benzodiazepine, and prescription pills.

Other items seized include batons, bear spray, body armour, a Taser, money counters, cell phones, drug packaging and paraphernalia, and various ammunition.

"Due to the sheer number of individuals involved, we had to narrow our focus to those who put our community most at risk," said CPS Staff Sgt. Greg Cooper.

"From start to finish, this investigation required an incredible amount of coordination and patience from our investigators, who worked tirelessly to hold these individuals accountable. Though our work is not over, these charges are significant, and a major step towards protecting Calgarians put at risk by drug trafficking and the related violence that follows."

Nine Calgarians were arrested, including:

  • Amandeep Saggu, 31, of Calgary, has been charged with five organized crime and drug offences, including instructing the commission of an offence for a criminal organization, trafficking of controlled substances, production of a controlled substance and possession of property obtained by crime. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17.
  • Ravneet Gill, 25, of Calgary, has been charged with three organized crime and drug offences, including participation in activities of a criminal organization, production of a controlled substance and possession of property obtained by crime. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17.
  • Prabhjyot Bhatti, 22, of Calgary, has been charged with five organized crime and drug offences, including participation in activities of a criminal organization, trafficking of controlled substances, production of a controlled substance and possession of property obtained by crime. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 17.
  • Jarmanjit Datewas, 23, of Calgary, has been charged with five organized crime and drug offences, including participation in activities of a criminal organization, trafficking of controlled substances, production of a controlled substance and possession of property obtained by crime. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 7, 2022.
  • Jaskaran Sidhu, 22, of Calgary, was charged with 27 weapons and breach offences, including discharge a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and possession of a weapon contrary to a prohibition order.
  • Jasman Dhaliwal, 19, of Calgary, was charged with 10 weapons and breach offences, including possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a weapon obtained by crime and failing to comply with a sentence or disposition. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 17, 2022.
  • Steven Whyte, 27, of Calgary, was charged with ten drug, weapons and breach offences, including possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and possession of a weapon contrary to a prohibition order. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 28, 2022.
  • Safwan Riaz, 22, of Calgary, was charged with four drug offences, including of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 3, 2022.
  • Irkham Farooq, 23, of Calgary, was charged with four drug offences including possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 7, 2022.

"It is believed that these individuals provided support to the Calgary network by funding them for both drugs and legal fees," police said.