Heavily-armed unit deployed
Mounties say house-storming is "only the beginning"

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 11/97) - The Yellowknife drug trade is facing the heavy artillery of a police crackdown.

Three city residents have been charged with possession of stolen property after the RCMP Emergency Response Team burst into a School Draw Avenue home last week.

The men - aged 18, 19, and 36 and all previously known to police - are believed by police to have stolen the goods from Canadian Tire to sell for drugs.

The Emergency Response Team was used because of concern about officer safety, said Cpl. Mac Eaton.

"We had reason to believe that there were four Rottweilers in the house," he said. "As it turned out, there was only one Italian mastiff involved," he said.

While it's unusual for the ERT to be used to break into a house in this city, Eaton said this is only the beginning.

"And I think you're going to see it a lot more," he said. "There's more and more handguns used in the drug world and there's more risk to police officers. We don't see it as a hard-handed threat -- it's a safety concern for police officers."

Cpl. Mike Brandford said last week's search was a response to public outcry over drug activity in the School Draw area.

Brandford urges anyone with information about suspicious activity to contact the RCMP. "Together we can make a difference to combat the illegal drug trade in Yellowknife," he said.

The accused are all scheduled to appear in court May 27.