April 19th, 2024

Money from city drug bust to help fund crime prevention in Alberta

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on February 14, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) will use more than $80,000 in cash from a record-breaking drug bust in Lethbridge in 2022, to help fund community crime prevention projects across the province.

According to ALERT’s website, the Alberta Government’s Civil Forfeiture Office brought a court application to forfeit over $80,000 in cash, bank drafts and a Subaru vehicle registered to Patrick Rodney as proceeds or instruments of drug trafficking, relating to the drug seizure on Dec. 20, 2022. Forfeiture was granted by order of the Court of King’s Bench on Jan. 17 of this year.

Civil forfeiture proceedings are separate from criminal proceedings, and Rodney’s criminal charges are still before the courts. He was charged with 20 offences relating to drugs and firearms and is scheduled for arraignment in Lethbridge on Feb. 26.

ALERT’s civil forfeiture liaison, acting Sgt. Peter Clarke, appears in a video explaining how civil forfeitures work and he says civil forfeiture is used to take the proceeds and instruments away from criminals in criminal activity.

“It’s a crime reduction strategy,” Clarke says in the video. “The criminal side takes care of the individual, we look more so at the instruments or the proceeds of crime and if we can take that away from them and fund programs and services through the province.”

The website states that over the last three years, civil forfeiture referrals originating from ALERT have resulted in over $2.4 million in forfeitures, helping to fund community crime prevention programs across the province through the Alberta Crime Prevention Grants.

During that period community groups received funding for projects focused on youth diversion from criminality, restorative justice, sexual and domestic violence intervention and prevention, a human trafficking exit program, and other crime prevention initiatives.

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Unfortunately, after adding up all the man hours spent conducting the investigation, making arrests, and preparing for court in preparation for presenting in court, $80,000 will not go far and may not even pay the total costs of this one bust. Then, at that point, there is the expense of incarceration, but it will help pay those costs.