A drug investigation by ALERT’s Organized Crime and Gang team has uncovered an alleged organized crime ring operating in Calgary and police believe the group is involved in a cross-border drug trading operation.

Police in Calgary worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on the investigation, called Project Arbour, to link the group to a number of criminal offences.

"During the course of our exhaustive investigation, ALERT collected evidence of extensive criminal offences committed by this group. Primarily this group acted as wholesale drug distributors courting international and inter-provincial drug shipments of MDMA, cocaine, meth, cannabis and fentanyl. We’re talking about large scale drug shipments at the multi-kilo level," said Supt. Chad Coles, CEO of ALERT.  

The investigation connected the Calgary-based crime group to the alleged operation of a fentanyl and steroid lab, a record methamphetamine seizure in Utah and a May 2017 homicide.

“The only violent offence that related to Operation Arbour was the double homicide on May 21,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta, CPS Homicide.

The investigation began in October 2016 after a vehicle with three-Calgary men inside was stopped just south of Provo, Utah.

"Project Arbour began following a milestone seizure of Meth in Utah. While three Calgary men were arrested, I don’t think any of us believed we caught the only people responsible. A drug seizure of that magnitude would require a multi-million dollar investment," said Coles.

Police found 100 kilograms of methamphetamine in the vehicle and say it was Utah’s largest meth bust.

Investigators in Canada and the U.S. believe the drugs were destined for Canada and police think the three men were couriers for an organized crime group based in Calgary that was being led by Allistair Chapman.

“He was known prior to this but we had no involvement with Chapman prior,” said Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy, ALERT Calgary. “We only went back as far as the drug seizure in Utah and on that I can only comment that Chapman was, from our investigation, leading, organizing, running the organization.”

The group was allegedly involved in importing and exporting drugs from Alberta, B.C. and the U.S.

“B.C. plays into it as, at times, on the supply end of some of the drugs that were used,” said McCurdy.

Four search warrants were executed during the investigation.

Police in Calgary found a suspected drug lab in a garage in Rosscarrock that was allegedly being used to make fentanyl and steroid pills.

"By dismantling this suspected fentanyl lab, we cut off a significant supply of fentanyl and undoubtedly saved lives in Calgary and surrounding areas and communities," said Cole.

The lab was dismantled and police seized a functioning pill press, pill press punch dies, a 50-litre powder mixer, and more than 17 kilograms of various powders.

Investigators say the pill press was capable of making 18,000 pills an hour and it was contaminated with fentanyl.

An alleged cannabis resin manufacturing lab was also shut down in the Cougar Ridge area and about 500 grams of suspected fentanyl powder and cannabis products were confiscated.

Investigators also seized two shotguns, three rifles and body armour.

Police say the investigation is connected to the homicides of Colin Reitberger and Anees Amr in May of 2017.

Christian Ouellette is charged with murder in the homicides and Blais Delaire is accused of helping him to acquire the murder weapon.

Police believe Ouellette and Delaire are members of Chapman’s group and say three other alleged members were arrested in connection to Project Arbour.

“What I can say is that Ouellette was, in our opinion, the enforcer for this group and obviously that played out on May 21 when we have a double homicide. The role that Delaire played, in our opinion, and what we’re alleging is that he facilitated the access to the handgun that was used in the double homicide,” said Schiavetta.

Matthew Speirs, 24, Drew Mann, 25, and Bryan Livingston, 32, were also arrested in the investigation.

“We know that they obviously worked their way up fairly quickly and they had contacts with other groups. There’s some blanks there that we obviously aren’t aware of but to answer your question earlier, they reached a fairly high level at a fairly young age and that had to be because of the contacts they had within other organizations,” said McCurdy.

A total of 46 charges related to drugs, conspiracy, firearms, trafficking and participating in a criminal organization have been laid.

A number of items were seized during the investigation including:

  • 5 firearms
  • 18 kilograms of suspected fentanyl powder
  • Pill press and dies
  • 50-litre powder mixer
  • 7 kilograms of methamphetamine
  • 2 kilograms of cocaine
  • 700 grams of heroin
  • 8.5 kilograms of cannabis products
  • Two vehicles seized

Investigators believe they have arrested all the people involved.

“The people that we arrested are the organized crime group that we investigated and we feel that we have all the participants, yes,” said McCurdy. “The Tact Team were involved in some of the arrests as well as other CPS personnel. How surprised they were, I guess, they’re the only ones that could tell you that. I think given their lack of criminal history in the past, I think it would be a fairly substantial surprise to them.”

Police also say a number of agencies were involved in the operation and that it is satisfying to close a case like this.

“We can’t do what we do without the cooperation of a lot of different units within Calgary police, the RCMP and other organizations, it wouldn’t happen without that,” said McCurdy. “It is very satisfying to be done,”

Police say the substances have been sent in for analysis and the results are pending.