Drug bust leads to trafficking charge


Cocaine and marijuana seizure by RCMP from residence in West Channel Jan. 20, 2016 Hay River Photo courtesy of Hay River RCMP

Cocaine and marijuana seizure by RCMP from residence in West Channel.
Jan. 20, 2016
Hay River
Photo courtesy of Hay River RCMP

A 19-year-old man is facing drug charges after the RCMP raided a West Channel area residence last week.

According to an RCMP news release, police executed a search warrant at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, and allegedly seized approximately 30 grams of crack cocaine, 30 grams of marijuana, as well as a significant quantity of cash and drug paraphernalia.

Calvin James King of Hay River has been charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and possession of the proceeds of crime.

King appeared before a Justice of the Peace and was released. His next court date is April 18 in Hay River Territorial Court.

When contacted by The Hub on Jan. 21, Sgt. Tyler Codling, the commanding officer of the Hay River RCMP, classified the drug seizure as significant.

“Hay River is a town of 3,500 people, give or take, so a seizure of this size represents a considerable amount of usable drugs for the community,” he said. “So it’s definitely a meaningful seizure.”

Codling said police had not established an estimated value of the drugs.

However, he noted a single piece of crack cocaine – about one-tenth of a gram – would sell for about $25.

Codling said that, in addition to the drugs, approximately $6,000 in cash was seized.

“The search resulted from concerned members of the community coming forward and providing information, and the corroborating investigation from the officers to gather the sufficient grounds to get the warrant,” the officer said. “But ultimately something like this doesn’t happen without the involvement of the community at large. It’s the information that we received from the people that live in the town that always leads us to something like this.”

Codling described the drug seizure as a win for the community.

“And we hope it encourages people that, if they come forward with information to the police, they can see results and that there can be a meaningful difference made in Hay River,” he said. “It’s a concern that’s raised constantly by the members of the public, the drug trade, and this is exactly the kind of results that can happen when we receive the information.”

The search of the residence also netted cellphones and two knives.

“Telephones are heavily relied on in drug trafficking to arrange the actual transactions,” Codling noted. “So any time a search warrant is conducted like this all those devices are seized so that we can pull the information off and determine who else might be involved.”

The two knives, while not illegal, resulted in the charge of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

“What we seized were hand weapons but the manner that they were being stored indicated they were there in relation to the drug trafficking going on,” Codling explained. “So for that reason he is being charged with that particular offence.”

The sergeant was also asked about the young age of the accused.

“It’s always unfortunate to see young people involved in an activity like this but it’s also not uncommon,” he said. “It’s a common age where people are susceptible to being recruited to take part in organizations that are doing these types of things. They don’t necessarily have the life experience or skills in order to be able to resist that influence, so they’re always at risk to be recruited into drug trafficking.”

It’s something at which they can make easy money quickly but they don’t see the long-term consequences, Codling added. “They just see the immediate payoff.”

-Paul Bickford