Five people face drugs charges after a three-month investigation into cocaine trafficking in Yellowknife, RCMP say.
One of the five, named by police as Edmonton 18-year-old Syed Quadri, is said to be still at large. Police said on Tuesday they believe Quadri is still in the Yellowknife area.
In a news release, RCMP said the suspects charged as a result of the investigation are “believed to have been coordinating the shipment of cocaine into the Northwest Territories from Alberta.”
Cocaine has long been a problem in many NWT communities. More generally, recent drug-related deaths led a municipal politician in Hay River to declare a crisis in the town, while territorial politicians and Indigenous leaders have discussed drug decriminalization as one possible solution. (Decriminalization ordinarily means ending penalties for drug possession or use. Drug trafficking and dealing would remain a crime.)
According to police on Tuesday, their latest investigation in Yellowknife uncovered $70,535 in cash considered by RCMP to be the proceeds of crime, 20 pieces of cocaine, a small amount of powdered cocaine, and cocaine trafficking paraphernalia.
RCMP named Abdulkadir Dirshe, Bryce Jeske, Abdulrasaq Yousif and Akok Aken as the remaining four people charged. Dirshe’s age is given as 49, while police said the others range in age from 18 to 20. The four have all made initial court appearance, police said.
All of those named on Tuesday are accused of trafficking cocaine and related charges. All are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Appealing for help from residents to find Quadri, police described him as 5 ft 7 in tall and 160 lb with “longer black hair and brown eyes.” If you have information about his whereabouts, police said, call the Yellowknife detachment at (867) 669-1111 or leave a tip anonymously online.
“This investigation and the corresponding results are the culmination of three months of dedication by our members to disrupt a prolific drug trafficking network in the city of Yellowknife,” Insp Chris Hastie, the Yellowknife detachment commander, said in a statement.
“The objective of reducing the threat of organized crime groups within our community remains a top priority for the Yellowknife RCMP.”