Fifteen people are facing charges and RCMP have seized more than 1,425 grams of cocaine as well as two firearms in a year-long investigation.
In a new release issued Monday, Mounties state that they began the investigation, code named ‘Project Gloomiest’ after they received information from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada – the country’s Financial Intelligence Agency – regarding suspicious movements of money believed to be linked to the drug trade in the Northwest Territories.
Police state that the primary subject of the investigation was 23-year-old Toufic Chamas, who goes by the first name Tommy.
He’s the Yellowknife resident who made headlines this past fall when he was convicted of flying a drone in downtown Yellowknife and days later charged with the theft of firearms.
Mounties says that the investigation quickly expanded to include several other people working with Chamas.
A separate cocaine trafficking network was also investigated.
RCMP say two search warrants executed on May 4th of this year were done as part of Project Gloomiest.
Police say they had observed the unlawful transfer of a firearm during the course of their surveillance.
Parts of a dismantled firearm were recovered during the searches.
Chamas and another man, 40-year-old Clayton Christensen of Yellowknife, are charged with firearms offences in relation to this transaction.
Both suspects have been arrested, charged and released for later court dates.
It is unclear why Chamas was released in that he has almost certainly breached his court conditions while out on bail on the previous firearms and theft charges.
Others arrested for drug trafficking charges are 24-year-old Andrew Rheaume, 27-year-old Toni Tobac, 26-year-old Brandon Topilikon, 27-year-old Caitlin Stewart and 33-year-old Julie Carter, all of Yellowknife, as well as 40-year-old Abdifatah Maie of Edmonton.
Drug trafficking arrest warrants have been issued for 30-year-old Kerry Balsillie of Yellowknife, 40-year-old Mohammed Ahmad of Edmonton, 27-year-old Abdikani Warsame of Toronto, 29-year-old Brett Lacey of no fixed address, 27-year-old Paul Mangiel of Red Deer, 23-year-old Rasid Abdula of Edmonton and 22-year-old Samatar Yousuf of Ottawa.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Dean Riou says the investigation was challenging because some suspects were from out of town and operated using fake names.
He adds that some of the suspects are alleged to have sold substitute substances that they claimed was cocaine, something Riou says is very dangerous.