Drugs and liquor seized after plane lands in Fort Good Hope

Incident comes amid concerns over lack of security screening at Yellowknife Airport for regional flights

A view of Fort Good Hope. (CKLB file photo.)

A tip led RCMP to arrest a passenger at the Fort Good Hope airport on the weekend, seizing illegal and prescription drugs and bootlegged alcohol.

This incident comes just days after a Standing Committee of the NWT Assembly heard concerns about the lack of passenger screening at the Yellowknife Airport for regional flights.

Corporal Matt Halstead speaks for the NWT RCMP.

Fort Good Hope Airport. (CKLB file photo.)

“It’s a difficult issue and we are seeing drugs brought in on flights and sent through mail and air cargo throughout the territory,” he told CKLB today.

“The RCMP are bound by legislation that governs search and seizure for police and we are not able to engage in luggage or passenger screening without the preconditions of a lawful search being met.

On Sunday, a person was detained as part of a drug investigation, with police discovering 212 tablets of suspected Gabapentin (prescribed for nerve pain and seizures), an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine and alcohol that was concealed in two-litre pop bottles.

Halstead stated the investigation into this incident is ongoing and no charges have been laid at this time.

Yellowknife Airport passengers heading outside of the NWT line up to be searched and their carry-on luggage electronically peered into.

This as passengers flying to regional destinations – even on a jet aircraft – simply walk right onboard.

Yellowknife Airport. (CKLB file photo.)

Mackenzie Delta MLA George Nerysoo asked the committee on Friday why there are no security screenings for such passengers.

“We have a large number of drugs and other activities heading north through Yellowknife. Is there any measure the airport can take to improve security?”

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Steve Loutitt responded to Nerysoo.

“At this point, those flights aren’t getting screened and even if those flights are screened, there’s limited detection for drugs.”

Loutitt said he would bring it forward to the Deputy Minister of Justice, but screenings are governed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the RCMP.

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: james.oconnor@cklbradio.com.