Project Maverick shuts down cocaine trafficking network

By Taylor Chartrand
November 23, 2018 - 8:59am Updated: November 23, 2018 - 7:30pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — A Medicine Hat-based cocaine trafficking network has been shut down following a lengthy and complex investigation by ALERT.

Project Maverick has resulted in charges against 10 suspects and the seizure of roughly $200,000 worth of drugs, cash proceeds of crime, and property obtained by crime. 14 firearms were also seized.

The arrests took place November 15-16, 2018 with assistance from the Medicine Hat Police Service, as well as numerous other agencies, including Redcliff RCMP, Brooks RCMP, Taber Police Service, Calgary Police Service, and Edmonton Police Service.

At the core of the investigation were three men who ALERT alleges conspired to traffic cocaine through Medicine Hat and surrounding communities. Derec Trekofski, Ian Gabriel and Sean Engel have been charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine and offence related to participating in a criminal organization.

Trekofski was allegedly at the top of network and has subsequently been charged with instructing a criminal organization. The 27-year-old man from Medicine Hat has drug trafficking convictions as the result of previous ALERT investigations. He is scheduled to appear in court on December 20th.

"We are an intelligence led unit with ALERT and so based on intelligence that we receive from a number of areas, then we will action that information and then we’ll implement a variety of specialized techniques, investigative techniques," said Inspector Sean Boser with ALERT.

"This seizure will have, undoubtedly, an immediate impact on Medicine Hat and the surrounding communities that it was affecting before," said Inspector Tim McGough with the Medicine Hat Police Service. "The trickle down impact of the drug trade is associated to acts of violence, property crimes, addiction and health care costs. All Albertans pay the price for the drug trade."

Project Maverick began in December 2017 based on criminal intelligence related to drug trafficking activity.

During the course of the investigation three homes were searched, including two in Medicine Hat and from in Redcliff. The following items were seized as the result of Project Maverick:
-1.1 kilograms of cocaine;
-10 rifles;
-2 handguns;
-2 shotguns;
-3 prohibited magazines;
-Thousands of rounds of ammunition;
-8,800 contraband cigarettes;
-$9,200 in recovered stolen property;
-$17,000 in property obtained by crime; and
-$53,700 cash proceeds of crime.

ALERT says the seizure represents the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in Medicine Hat. It's also the second largest total seizure by ALERT in Medicine Hat.

The suspects face a total of 60 charges:
-Derec Trekofski, 27-year-old man from Medicine Hat; 
-Sean Engel, 28-year-old man from Redcliff;
-Ian Gabriel, 29-year-old man from Medicine Hat;
-Krystal Chin, 26-year-old woman from Medicine Hat;
-Kerry Denis, 53-year-old man from Leoville, Sask;
-Mitchell Wasiliew, 29-year-old man from Medicine Hat;
-Trenton Holmstrom, 29-year-old man from Medicine Hat;
-Justin Allen, 32-year-old man from Redcliff;
-Kristen Allen, 30-year-old woman from Redcliff; and
-Ethan Tough, 28-year-old man from Medicine Hat.

A full list of charges each person is facing can be found here.

Gabriel and Tough could not be located and warrants have been issued for their arrest.

With files from Ashley Wiebe.

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