An alleged key figure in a Terrace-area organized crime group is now behind bars awaiting a bail hearing.
David Edwardsen of Thornhill has been charged with four counts of trafficking, two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, one charge of production of a controlled substance, and four firearms charges.
His first appearance in court was Sept. 20 and his bail hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5 in Terrace. Edwardsen’s arrest and the subsequent charges laid mark a milestone in a 14-month investigation into a Terrace-area organized crime unit.
Today, Terrace’s RCMP Inspector Dana Hart travelled to Vancouver with RCMP superintendent Brian Cantera, the officer in charge of the RCMP Drug Enforcement Branch in B.C.
“The purpose was to announce the results of a recent enforcement action which saw the arrests of five people and the searches of five different properties in the Terrace area,” said Hart after the conference.
The investigation, which targeted a specific criminal group in the Terrace area, involved getting search warrants for five different properties, resulting in the recovery of cash, various kinds of drugs and firearms.
Drugs included more than 500 marijuana plants obtained from three different grow operations, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 24 tablets of ecstasy, 17 grams of hashish, 32 grams of magic mushrooms and also prescription drugs.
The investigative team also recovered 110 long guns, which are rifles and shotguns, and several handguns from two of the search sites.
“Many … were loaded and readily accessible to the occupants,” said Hart.
“Additional charges are expected to be laid in the near future against further members of the criminal group.”
Several RCMP units took part in the investigation, which was led by the federal RCMP Drug Enforcement Branch.
Members of Terrace’s general investigation section and crime reduction unit were part of the team, as well as the north district’s general investigation section and several other units from across B.C., said Hart.
Hart thanked all RCMP members who worked on the file.
“The successful enforcement actions represent a strong reminder that smaller communities such as Terrace are not exempt from violence and fear,” said Hart. “This organized crime group posed a significant threat to the safety and wellbeing of our communities.”
The second phase of the investigation involves continuing to compile collected information, which will be forwarded to crown counsel.
“(There is) information regarding drug activities elsewhere in the province that is being followed up on,” said Hart.
“As a result of this enforcement action the citizens of Terrace and all of northwestern British Columbia are that much safer.”
Hart added the RCMP will continue efforts against serious and organized criminal groups.