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Saturday , 16 October 2021

Eight people from Bonnyville charged with drug trafficking in ALERT investigation; over $1 million in seizures

A drug trafficking network that included eight people from Bonnyville that spanned Alberta and British Columbia has been dismantled by ALERT Edmonton.

Project Embrace began in October 2018 when Bonnyville RCMP developed criminal intelligence about drug trafficking taking place in the area.

Bonnyville RCMP arrested a number of street-level dealers in separate investigations.

Each of the following was charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking:

  • Charlie Houle, 24, from Bonnyville;
  • Brent Coell, 18, from Bonnyville;
  • Rayden Hill, 22, from Bonnyville;
  • Michael Pownall, 36, from Bonnyville;
  • Britney Coulombe, 27, from Bonnyville;
  • Wayne Friesen, 27, from Bonnyville;
  • Tyanna John, 21, from Bonnyville; and
  • Dustin Gellerman, 27, from Bonnyville.

Project Embrace collected evidence to suggest an Edmonton-based group coordinated the supply of drugs from British Columbia, and then facilitated distribution in Alberta – specifically in the communities of Bonnyville, Lloydminster, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Little Smoky and Frog Lake.

Investigators allege that Matthew Castle was at the centre of the Edmonton group, which involved family members and associates. Castle allegedly conspired with B.C.-based David Davinder Lally and Jacob Fralin to import drugs into Alberta.

Six homes were searched, including four in Edmonton and two Vancouver apartments. In total, investigators seized:

  • 6.5 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 2 kilograms of methamphetamine;
  • 18 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • $342,982 cash; and
  • a 2007 Volvo XC90 with a hidden mechanized compartment.

A number of other police agencies were involved in Project Embrace, including Edmonton Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, RCMP K-Division, Kamloops RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, Cold Lake RCMP, Elk Point RCMP, Kitscoty RCMP and St. Paul RCMP.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.