Extensive Investigation Leads to Large Drug Seizure

In October 2020, the Saskatchewan RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit (FSOC) based in Regina began an investigation into a sophisticated crime group that was distributing large quantities of drugs to numerous communities across Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan communities affected included both larger centers such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw as well as a number of smaller communities in rural Saskatchewan like Assiniboia, Marquis, Mossbank, Caronport, Hudson Bay, Limerick, Craven and Lloydminster.

As part of the extensive investigation, over 7,000 dedicated hours of surveillance were conducted in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan; over sixty judicial authorizations were executed; seven individuals were criminally charged; and a significant amount of illicit drugs and currency seized.

These seizures included:

• 397.5 grams of cocaine and 2.97 kilograms of methamphetamine near Chamberlain, SK
• 452.7 grams of cocaine in Fort McMurray, AB
• 1,540 grams of Meclonazepam (approximately 5,000 fake Xanax pills) in Edmonton, AB
• A subsequent search warrant was executed at another location in Edmonton, AB, and investigators found an additional 7,662.21 grams of Meclonazepam (approximately 25,000 fake Xanax pills), 40.01 grams of cocaine, 659.49 grams of psilocybin (mushrooms), 39.54 grams of MDMA and $123,652 in Canadian currency.
Police have laid 70 criminal charges in relation to this investigation, including conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance, trafficking in a controlled substance and property obtained by crime.

The accused: Travis Ferko of Edmonton, AB; Cody Klemola of Edmonton, AB; Matteo Cimino of St. Albert, AB; Jennifer Tabunar of Edmonton, AB; Joel Gladue of Edmonton, AB; and Cong Su of Vaughn, ON, will make their first appearances in Provincial Court in Regina on June 21, 2022.

Police continue to look for 48-year-old-Michael Bagan of Edmonton, AB in relation to this ongoing investigation. The latest description that police have of Bagan is as follows: he is 6’1″ tall, approximately 216 lbs, with blue eyes and brown hair. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

“The negative impact this group had on people in Saskatchewan and Alberta is immeasurable. These types of groups profit by poisoning our people and our communities – both in big cities and small towns. We’re really pleased to have taken these harmful substances out of our communities,” said Inspector Andrew Farquhar of the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit in Regina.

Canada is reporting significant increases in the presence of benzos in opioid-related deaths in recent years, as the presence of benzos makes it more difficult to reverse overdose symptoms.

Benzos are pharmaceutical drugs used to treat conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. They are sedatives – central nervous system (CNS) depressants prescribed by doctors following a medical diagnostic that slow down brain activity and include medications such as Xanax MD, Valium MD, Klonopin MD and Ativan MD, among others. They’re commonly called: Downers. Nerve pills. Sleepers. Tranks. Bars. Z-Bars. Barbs.

Please be aware the signs of an overdose include: Difficulty walking, talking or breathing, blue lips or nails. agitation, coma, confusion, dizziness, extreme drowsiness, loss of consciousness, tremors.

It is still critical to give Naloxone, since it temporarily reverses the effects of opioids and can restore breathing, even if one remains unconscious. While naloxone is not effective in counteracting the effects of benzodiazepines, it is effective against opioid overdoses and it can be safely administered to people who have taken both opioid and non-opioid drugs.

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately.

For more information about benzodiazepines, visit:…/controlled…/benzodiazepines.html
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