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Former Norman Wells mayor, wanted in NWT, detained in Edmonton

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Nathan Watson, a former Norman Wells mayor wanted by RCMP in the Northwest Territories, has been arrested in Edmonton.

A warrant for Watson's arrest was issued in May after he failed to appear in court on a drug charge.

He is also accused of involvement in a fraud case dating to his time as mayor of the Sahtu community, though he has in the past denied the claim.

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On Monday, RCMP confirmed Watson had been "apprehended for unrelated charges by the Edmonton Police Service."

Edmonton police subsequently told Cabin Radio Watson had been arrested on June 5, before being released on a promise to appear. He is due to appear in court next month. The nature of the fresh charges was not immediately apparent.

Since May, police have been trying to track down Watson following his failure to appear in court.

At his earlier trial, Watson tried to convince a judge the two baggies of cocaine police found in his jacket pocket weren’t his.

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Watson testified at trial that his jacket – emblazoned with his name and the words Town of Norman Wells – was on the back of a chair with other coats while he was drinking at a house party in the fall of 2017.

But Judge Garth Malakoe wasn’t buying the defence that someone had tried to frame Watson by planting 3.2 grams of cocaine in his jacket and had tipped off police about it

Impaired driving charges were stayed by the Crown.

Malakoe found Watson guilty on March 1.

At a later scheduled appearance in April, Watson was a no-show as his truck had apparently broken down between Edmonton and Yellowknife.

The court finally issued an arrest warrant on May 10.

The day Watson skipped court in May, lawyers representing the town of Norman Wells were in the building looking to serve him with notice of a lawsuit.

As previously reported, both Catherine Mallon – the former senior administrative officer – and Watson had been served civil suits from the Town of Norman Wells regarding alleged fraudulent activities.

The suit claims Mallon defrauded the community of more than $1.25 million. Watson is alleged to have allowed her to claim thousands of hours of overtime pay. (The Town does not allow such pay to be claimed.)

Watson denies knowledge of what took place.

Reports Mallon has also been detained in recent days could not be immediately substantiated.

James O'Connor and Sara Wicks contributed reporting.