Mounties sweep bar
20 RCMP members and a dog involved, one arrest made

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 23/97) - "It's about time," said a man who was driving past a 50th Street bar Thursday night while 20 RCMP officers and a police dog swept through it searching for cocaine.

Sgt. Tom Steggles said police were finally able to obtain a warrant to search The Right Spot after allegations from Yellowknifers kept surfacing during an ongoing investigation.

"This is the first time we could get a search warrant to go in," he said. "We haven't had enough to go to a JP (justice of the peace) and swear a search warrant. It's not like a fishing trip. You have to expect that the drugs would have been in there when they did the search."

Steggles said that even though it was the first bar to be searched for drugs in the city's recent history, police have their eyes on other establishments.

"It doesn't necessarily mean it's the main cocaine distribution centre in Yellowknife, but right now we've got the grounds to act on this," he said.

More than 65 people were in the bar when police burst in at 7:50 p.m., search warrant in hand. Most patrons were allowed to leave, but six people were searched in the process.

Steggles said police were looking for several suspects when they raided the bar. Of the 65 patrons in the bar at the time, only six were identified as suspects and detained.

"In this case, we would be criticized if we (searched everyone) because it's such a public place," he said. "A lot of innocent people could be in there. Heck, my mom and dad could be in there."

He said police planned to target these individuals while searching the building with Cito, a police dog, and his handler, Cpl. Jim Galloway, both from the Edmonton Police Dog Services.

A 29-year-old woman who was working in the bar at the time of the raid has been charged with possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking.

RCMP found three grams of cocaine, hidden in three different locations inside the kitchen area of the bar.

They also found 40 grams of marijuana, separately wrapped and packaged for sale.

While the seizure isn't large, Steggles said that it was significant because it confirmed police suspicions that drugs were in the bar.

The Right Spot was closed for the two-hour period of the raid, but then reopened for the evening.

Bar owner Ken Wong, when contacted yesterday, had no comment on last week's police action.