June 24th, 2024

Lethbridge police lay charges in alleged human trafficking ring


By Herald on August 13, 2021.

Acting Insp. Pete Christos of the LPS Criminal Investigation Section announces on Friday 10 men from Lethbridge and Calgary have been charged as part of an alleged human trafficking ring which sexually exploited girls under the age of 18. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski – Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Police Service has charged 10 Lethbridge and Calgary men, including a Lethbridge physician and business owner, with human trafficking following an investigation conducted in partnership with the RCMP, the Calgary Police Service and Alert’s Human Trafficking Counter Exploitation unit.

According to police, the men are members of an alleged human trafficking ring which sexually exploited girls under the age of 18.

Fadi Chtewi, 20, Abdulla Mohammed, 19, Mohammad Neiribani, 22, Mahmoud Nirabani, 20, Mohammad Zafari, 20, Meriton Krasniqi, 26, Ziyaad Noor, 37, Khaled Alsaid, 22, and two minors aged 16 and 17, who cannot be named, all face multiple charges including sexual interference, sexual assault and trafficking a person under the age of 18 years.

According to the LPS the two victims identified so far are 15 and 13-years-old.

Police first learned that a 15-year-old female had been selected, groomed and brought to specific locations where the offences took place. These individuals had arranged for the transportation of the victim to locations where the offences took place. The victim often did not know the details of the pre-arranged meetings, police confirmed.

Members of the Criminal Investigation Section subsequently learned the same individuals had also engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old victim, the details of which are still under investigation.

Acting Insp. Pete Christos, in charge of the Criminal Investigation Section, says he does not yet know how many more victims will be identified before long.

“The numbers of victims,” he said, “at this point, have not been confirmed.”

When asked if he had specific numbers of potential victims, Christos said there would likely be “multiple” victims.

“At this point it is too early to state, but as the investigation continues we are getting more and more information,” Christos said.

Christos confirmed the investigation started late last week after one of the victims came forward. He credited the courage of this young woman for exposing the alleged human trafficking ring.

“It is the courage of the individual who stepped forward, and reported it to police. And once we got the details, our Criminal Investigation Section took carriage of the file.”

Christos said the victims in these types of cases are usually targeted and groomed before being trafficked, and he encouraged other victims experiencing this type of exploitation in Lethbridge to come forward to police.

“They are being targeted, groomed, and potentially recruited,” Christos explained. “Oftentimes you will see this in public locations such as malls, and other venues such as social media sites and so on. From there what basically happens is they (the traffickers) try to create trust between the victim to the point where they feel that joining them in social events is not a concern until they realize what’s going on.”

The alleged offences in this case took place in both Lethbridge and Calgary, Christos confirmed, and the victims are receiving whatever assistance they require after their traumatic experiences.

“They are in a safe place right now, and they are being looked after,” he stated.

Two of the individuals charged have still not been apprehended. Warrants have been issued for Khaled Alsaid and Meriton Krasniqi.

Mayor Chris Spearman said when he heard the first reports of these human trafficking charges in Lethbridge he felt the sickening fear many parents feel when they think their own child could be placed in these circumstances.

“I think a lot of people might have thought before today that this isn’t the type of thing that happens in Lethbridge, but the reality is it is happening in Lethbridge,” Spearman stated. “It is one of the most under-reported crimes. We do want to encourage victims to come forward, and we want them to feel safe doing so. And we want to make sure that we can continue to be a safer city by working together.

“I am shocked and very disappointed that there are people in our community, professional people, engaged in this type of activity,” he added.

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ShadowRat

These criminals should be sent right back to country of origin. Stop wasting tax payers money on Trudeau’s voting base that he imported.

biff

you appear to be opposed to enslaved sex and enslaved sex of minors, but then you swerve off and add an ignorant rant. your ingnorance around immigration – or, perhaps the “right kind” – speaks loudly and poorly about you. as if harper, and cons govts have not courted immigrants and groomed them en masse for their en bloc votes. wake up – grow up. it is your kind, you narrow and hater mindset, that is unwanted.

pursuit diver

One very good reason why many citizens have refused to allow their children to go the Main Lethbridge Public Library for a few years , due to the street prostitutes around the outside selling their services and using the bathrooms there to ‘freshen-up’ and even using the computers to check on ‘client’ communications. Their clients often pick them up in the parking lot and drug dealers are always there, or nearby. This is not a secret in this city, but police could do nothing due to the weak laws after Bill C-36 went into effect with loopholes.
These recent arrests of these despicable animals show we need change and with our Canadian laws full of loopholes and lawyers able to manipulate the system, you can bet they will get light sentences!
There are not strong enough laws in place for these scumbags to get what they truly deserve! And, this is only a drop in a barrel, not bucket, to how large this problem is!
This is the time police budgets show be increased, not slashed like our great Lethbridge city council did, removing over $1 million dollars from the LPS budget and I is there any wonder that this very well could be because this is an election year? The same Councilors that want a $100 million performing arts complex are the ones the wanted the LPS budget slashed!
Our Bill C-36 did nothing to protect the girls on the streets as well, but instead made it almost impossible for police to make arrests that hold up in court, because the hookers can’t be charged, only the John’s!
Our great governments at work protecting the public, right?
There is a lot that goes on in this city that all the bleeding hearts have zero knowledge of and they would be horrified if they knew what our city police has to deal with, yet we slash their budget while our streets are being over-run and our neighborhoods and parks are now being used as toilets, bedrooms, drug dens and place to steal from!
Thank you LPS for the great job and let’s hope you get more evidence to arrest some of the other dirt-bags!
People in this city really need to wake up and quit listening to idiots that trying to promote harm reduction and SCS sites when they don’t work and only generate more addicts, more hookers, and more crime! We need to take back our city!!!

Les Elford

 The emotion and outrage  at such despicable action and behavior is palatable.

I agree these people deserve the most significant, swift and severe consequences possible. The victims deserve the best expedient treatment and support available and compensation from the victim services program for trauma endured and may be long lasting. Lastly, the LPS deserve credit for what appears to quick and decisive actions resulting in the apprehension and charges for the accused.

Sadly; current government’s at every level appear to have become masters of deception, deflection and distraction, deceitful ,untrustworthy spin doctors; unwilling and unable to accept accountability, blame others for everything, have sold themselves to the highest corporate bidder, where the dollar is worth more than the health and safety of it’s citizens, and who appear to have lost any and element of humanity compassion, honesty, concern for anyone but themselves.

LPS can only do their jobs efficiently if given the proper tools. The city was forced into hard decision’s and compliance with actions which make no sense; cut back of emergency dispatch program at the downtown firehall.

Reference has already been made to weak ineffective legal system and judiciary.

It appears the UCP is doing everything in their power to burn as many programs down as they can. Cutbacks to the police program is just one example. Significant problems continue to exist within EMS system (wait times dispatch problems and using ambulances and resources from other jurisdictions still is occurring, regardless of what AHS claims.

I fear a private provincial police force may be run as efficiently as AHS. It scares the heck out of me to think our UCP experiment thinks the answer is to develop their own private police force they could control.

biff

repeat from earlier news release: human trafficking has for too long been not even close to adequately addressed by law enforcement, nor govts. it is a wickedly large, worldwide problem. while we cannot kill the scum that exploit children, we can get them off the street…and keep youth free and safe from the scum. i suspect the human trafficking issue is deep, and hence, some of the perpetrators are well positioned with regard to power. the epstein case is just a small window into that sordid world. which makes me wonder why the sleazy media has not put any real resources into investigating the very prominent names that have been seen with young teens and hanging out with epstein. it would sell papers, and have people watching the news…but largely, there is silence. not even as much as hiccup when epstein was determined to have killed himself. yup, a very deep and sick and pressing issue that gets not anywhere near enough legal attention.
to pursuit: a consensual agreement between adults, whatever the act, where the rights of another have not been compromised, is no one’s business…even where money is exchanged.
we do not need to increase policing budgets to get on human trafficking. where might the money/resources come from? simple: put an end to the illegal war on drugs, and begin a most necessary and legal war on human trafficking. of course, in addition to the lack of will that is so obvious from govt, unlike the illegal war on drugs, there is no massive sleaze money to be pocketed by the bogus “enforcers.”