RCMP and Calgary police have made a substantial dent on drug trafficking in southern Alberta after search warrants resulted in the seizure of a significant amount of guns, ammunition, and drugs.

The joint operation began back in March 2015 after Calgary police were informed of drug activity and investigators soon made connections to the Red Deer area.

When RCMP in Red Deer began their own investigation in October 2015, it soon became clear that both forces were investigating the same suspects.

The following month, RCMP and CPS joined forces to support each other's efforts, including help from ALERT.

Throughout the investigation, authorities closely monitored the activities of two of the suspects, who live in Red Deer and Calgary, finding them to be highly active in drug trafficking and violent crimes.

Earlier in January, CPS responded to an attempted armed robbery at the Rocky Mountain Pawn Shop, where the suspects fled the scene in a stolen vehicle, and then switched to a second vehicle.

The attempted escape was observed by the HAWCS helicopter and police stopped the second vehicle in  the 100 block of Silverado Creek Crescent S.W.

In the days afterwards, police conducted search warrants on:

  • An apartment at 475 Lancaster Drive, Red Deer
  • Two rooms in a hotel in Gasoline Alley, Red Deer County
  • A home in the 0-100 block of Silverado Creek Crescent S.W., Calgary
  • A home in the 14000 block of 6 Street S.W., Calgary

The following items were seized during the operation:

  • Body armour containing ceramic plate
  • Nine guns
  • 12,159 rounds of ammunition
  • $14,400 cash
  • 400 grams of drugs

Two suspects were arrested following the vehicle stop in Calgary and a third following the execution of the search warrant in Red Deer.

Shawn Barry Steier, 30, of Red Deer, has been charged with:

  • Two counts of robbery
  • Two counts of pointing a firearm
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000
  • Two counts of knowing possession of an unlicensed weapon
  • Unlawfully at large
  • Having a face masked or disguised during an offence

He is expected to appear in court on January 29, 2016.

Wayant Donald Chapin, 37, of Calgary, has been charged with:

  • Two counts of robbery
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000
  • Two counts of possession of an unlicensed weapon
  • Possession of property obtained by crime
  • Possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking
  • Possession of crystal meth for the purpose of trafficking
  • Possession of body armor without a valid permit
  • Driving an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway
  • Two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose

Chapin is expected in court on January 29, 2016.

Charges are pending against a third suspect, a 55-year-old woman from Red Deer, who has not yet been identified.

RCMP say that when forces work together, they can more easily disrupt illegal activities. “Drug traffickers and other criminals cross jurisdictions all the time, so interagency collaboration is crucial to disrupting their operations,” said Sgt. Eric McKenzie of the Red Deer RCMP, in a release. “The drug trade fuels organized crime. It breeds violent crimes such as home invasions and robberies, as well as property crimes and vehicle theft. We will continue to hammer at drug trafficking operations, enforce laws against the drug trade, and put these violent offenders before the courts.”

Calgary police say that the amount of weapons seized during the operation is very telling of the urgency that officers need to exercise in bringing this type of activity down. “It speaks to the level of violence these groups are willing to go to, putting the public at significant risk. More than ever before, we must work together to put a stop to drug activity and the associated violence it brings,”said Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta with the CPS Drug Unit.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be laid in the coming weeks.