West-end drug users are going to have lot more trouble scoring their poison, after police cracked down on a “dial-a-dope” operation that has landed a small army of dealers in jail.
Project Wagia was an undercover operation that put West Division officers in the role of druggies, buying small quantities of cocaine from dealers who often delivered within minutes after being called.
“It was a fairly labour-intensive effort for us, but it was done in response to complaints from the community, largely south of Stony Plain Road,” said Edmonton Police Services Supt. Joe Marshall at West Division headquarters yesterday.
“Those are quieter, residential neighbourhoods that were inundated with people delivering drugs there.
When you’re exposed to that for many months on end, it becomes apparent what’s going on there.”
The project has been underway since February, and police have laid a total of 127 charges against 34 men and women between the ages of 16 and 34.
“The fact that we were able to arrest so many people and garner so many charges proves that we were successful, and we hope it’s going to reduce the negative impact on these communities.”
Marshall added that the bust won’t stop drug trafficking in the area, but that it will slow it significantly.
“It’s going to make a lot of the traffickers nervous and we hope that some of the 34 individuals are going to stay in custody for some time to come.”