SELKIRK — Several local residents have been charged in a series of drug raids that police said is the largest in Selkirk’s history.
Fourteen people have been charged with a variety of drug and weapon offences, and all but one of them are local residents.
"We’re keeping our community safe," RCMP Insp. Mark LeMaistre said during a Monday press conference.
LeMaistre said all those individuals arrested are members of competing but local drug gangs, adding he believes they are all linked to drug gangs in Winnipeg.
"This was an organized crime ring," LeMaistre, head of the Selkirk and area detachment, said, adding the investigation resulted in the largest drug bust in the community’s history.
Several seized weapons, including shotguns and bolt-action rifles, ammunition and assorted knifes were on display in a small room packed with local police and municipal officials.
The drugs seized included cocaine, marijuana, crack cocaine and OxyContin.
LeMaistre said several of the weapons had been stolen.
"It’s our expectation that we have significantly reduced the potential for crime in (Selkirk)," LeMaistre said.
Dubbed Project Deduct, the 12-week investigation began in September aimed at drug dealers in Selkirk and the surrounding rural communities of St. Andrews and St. Clements. It involved 100 RCMP from various units, along with the assistance of the Winnipeg Police Service.
Those charged ranged in age from 18 to 65 years.
There is an outstanding arrest warrant for one Selkirk resident.
Of the 14 people charged so far, only two remain in custody. The others were released on conditions to appear in Selkirk Provincial Court at a later date.
LeMaistre said that the arrests only mark the first stage of an ongoing investigation into the illegal drug trade in Selkirk and the surrounding communities.