Six Halifax men arrested as part of Alberta drug ring investigation

Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - Police in Grande Prairie, Alta, have arrested six men from Halifax as a result of a months-long investigation into a drug network.

The communications manager for Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams said Tuesday that members of the Grande Prairie Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-Grande Prairie) wrapped up the five-month long operation on March 19, carrying out three search warrants and arresting eight people.

“Our information is that these individuals are part of a larger criminal group that is based in Halifax,” said Mike Tucker. “So they’ve kind of been on our radar for a little bit now.”

Tucker said members of CFSEU-Grande Prairie saw the group in action, witnessing several drug deals implicating both cocaine dealers and their suppliers in Grande Prairie.

“These individuals did demonstrate a propensity for violence in an effort to kind of gain control over the drug lines in Grande Prairie,” said Tucker.

Investigators seized about $18,000 worth of cocaine and two prohibited weapons as a result of the search warrants.

Tucker said it’s a relatively small amount of cocaine, but investigators say it indicates the volume and pace at which the group was selling.

The six men who have been charged are: Joshue Hendsbee, 26; Derek Cawthorn, 23; Marcus Verreault, 21; Romell Allison, 19; Ommyo Parham, 18; and Jeremy Ross, 33 years old.

They are facing a total of 19 drug and weapons charges.

Another two men were arrested and released with charges pending.

Tucker said about a dozen more men, also all from Halifax, were arrested in a similar operation in September 2013.

“There is a very big cocaine market in northern Alberta…what our investigators told me is there’s a steady stream of young men willing to relocate from Halifax to work these phones and to deal drugs,” he said. “We’re really just trying to send the message that look, we’re aware of this group and we’re going to keep making arrests until they go away.”

According to a news release, CFSEU-Grande Prairie is a team established and funded by the Alberta government to “tackle serious and organized crime.”

Organizations: Grande Prairie Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit

Geographic location: Halifax, Alberta, Grande Prairie Northern Alberta

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