RCMP find $133,000 vacuum-sealed in car leaving Hay River

An RCMP handout image shows cash said to have been seized from a vehicle leaving Hay River on November 12, 2022
An RCMP handout image shows cash said to have been seized from a vehicle leaving Hay River on November 12, 2022.

Police urged Hay River residents to “take back their community” and report drug dealers after officers said they found $133,410 in a car leaving the town.

The cash was found in vacuum-sealed bags inside a vehicle stopped by police while headed south toward Edmonton on November 12, RCMP said in a news release on Tuesday.

A 37-year-old Alberta resident, who was not named by police, is charged with trafficking cocaine and possessing the proceeds of crime. He is due in court in Hay River on January 16, 2023.

In a statement of unusual length, Insp Dean Riou – officer in charge of NWT RCMP’s south district – said the seizure was “bittersweet.”



“This illicit cash would have ultimately been destined to high-level criminals who prey on our most vulnerable citizens, and we are pleased we were able to intercept it before it could reach them,” Riou stated.

“However, this is money that should have stayed in the community to pay for children’s activities, groceries, diapers, and other essentials.”

Earlier this month, a town RCMP officer asked residents to volunteer for a citizens-on-patrol program in response to a growing number of reported crimes.

At a public meeting, residents said they feared drug dealers were becoming a dominant force in at least some areas of the community.



“We need to get our town back and the government needs to stand up and start doing something about it,” one resident said.

On Tuesday, Riou acknowledged the impact of crime on Hay River and the reported loss of several people to drugs in the community.

“RCMP members see the daily impact of addictions in our communities, particularly in Hay River – a community that has recently suffered tragic losses as a result of addictions and the drug trade,” Riou stated.

“We urge people to take back their community by reporting known or suspected drug activity to the RCMP.”