Those looking to purchase drugs in the city may not have their calls returned after a police sting targeted “dial-a-dopers,” charging 51 people with more than 120 criminal offences.
The undercover sting was led by the gang and drag unit of the Edmonton Police Service and was a crackdown on street-level drugs dealers. Police say they are the bottom of the drug hierarchy, but the first point of contact for the majority of drug users in the city.
Police say the project began as a result of community concerns about drug activity across the city, and wasn’t focused on specific neighbourhoods.
“There are the traffickers that are in our communities that peddle their trade in front of our residences, in front of our schools and our shopping centres,” said Staff Sergeant Greg Preston.
The sting, called Project Geld, began on March 4. Over $14,500 in cash was seized along with 205 grams of cocaine, small amounts of marijuana and meth and six vehicles. Police say the accused range in age from 15 to 44 years old, including three who are under 18.
“We need to ensure that our young people are aware that it’s not all glamour that the money that flows from this comes with potentially some very significant consequences,” said Sgt. Preston. The charges include 44 counts of trafficking, 18 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and 43 counts of possession of the proceeds of crime. Though police believe there are a larger number of “dial-a-dopers” in the city, the project is said to have been a success.
“It causes them sometimes to get a little bit sloppy,” Sgt. Preston told reporters. “Distraction and disruption are part of our tactic.”