POLICE SEIZE DRUGS, GUNS; ARREST EIGHT
Regina and B.C. searches
A lengthy police investigation has led to charges against eight people and the seizure of drugs, weapons, currency and other property.
The seizures and charges sprang from an investigation that began in January 2012, according to a news release issued by the RCMP over the noon hour on Wednesday. Members of the Integrated Organized Crime South Unit — made up of members of the RCMP and Regina Police Service — conducted several searches on Sunday and Monday in Regina, West Kelowna and Merritt, British Columbia.
Police said the investigation led to the seizure of 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and 1.1 kilograms of marijuana (as well as numerous marijuana plants), with Canadian currency seized amounting to more than $120,000.
“For me, it’s not really a focus on drugs,” said Supt. Kevin Jones, Assistant Criminal Operations Officer with RCMP “F” Division. “What it is, is a focus on organized crime and their attempt or their desire to make money illegally. So in this case, the commodity was drugs. Had it been something other, some other crime type or something else — let’s say counterfeit money, counterfeit T-shirts, whatever the case may be — what we want to do is we want to prevent organized crime from getting a solid foothold in this province.”
While Jones didn’t provide details of the investigation, he said it was the product of “the ongoing examination by law enforcement in the province into who is or what groups are trying to make money through illegal means.”
Four Regina residences were searched on Sunday on the 900 block of Broad Street North, the 500 block of Lorne Street, the 0-99 block of Angus Road, and one on Falcon Bay. A fifth Regina residence was searched on Monday, on the 300 block of Halifax Street North. The Regina searches reportedly resulted in seizures of a quantity of cocaine and marijuana, numerous firearms and other weapons, cash, drug paraphernalia and other property (including computers and vehicles).
Sunday also saw three searches in British Columbia — two in West Kelowna and one in Merritt — during which police reported seizing 176 marijuana plants, cash, guns, vehicles and other items.
Eight people are now facing drug charges as a result: Dustin Zimmerman, 28, from Regina and Kelowna; Jeremy Lemioer, 30, from Regina; Sarah Hamann, 26, from Regina; Jaird Hatch, 46, from Regina; Shane Yelinek, 34, from Regina; Brendan Krecklewich, 25, from Regina; Riley Williams, 26, from Regina; and Hafiz Alli, 28, from Regina. Alli is also charged with participating in a criminal organization.
The RCMP Southeast District Drugs Section and Kelowna RCMP were involved in the Kelowna arrests of Zimmerman and Hatch.
All eight remain before the court, with several appearing at Regina Provincial Court on Wednesday afternoon. A joint bail hearing was held at that time for two — Lemioer and Hamann — following which the judge set the matter over to Tuesday for decision. Details from the bail hearing can’t be reported because of a courtimposed publication ban.
Hatch was released with the consent of the Crown on a number of conditions and is to return to Kelowna. His charges will be back in Regina court on July 15. Zimmerman was also in court, and will remain in custody until his next appearance this afternoon.
In the meantime, Jones said the investigation is continuing with more charges expected.