Sheriffs Shut Down Calgary Drug House

The Alberta Sheriffs have shut down a house that has been a source of drug activity and ongoing problems for residents of a Calgary neighbourhood.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit has obtained a court order giving investigators the authority to close the house at 2000 Cottonwood Cr. SE for 90 days and impose strict conditions on the property’s use for the next five years.

“Our government is committed to using all means at our disposal to investigate, disrupt and dismantle criminal activity that endangers people in our communities. We value and have the utmost appreciation for the SCAN unit and its tireless work in ensuring Albertans are safe, secure and protected.”Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The closure took effect Sept. 17, as crews boarded up the house, changed the locks and erected a fence around the property to bar the owner and any occupants from entering for 90 days.

After the closure ends on Dec. 16, 2019, the order forbids the property owner from having any visitors or tenants for five years without prior approval from SCAN investigators. The order will remain in effect until Dec. 16, 2024.

The legal action is aimed at breaking a cycle of criminal activity at the property that has been ongoing for several years.

The conditions are among the most stringent imposed by the court since the SCAN unit’s inception in 2008. Investigators sought the five-year term, in part, because the property owner violated conditions of a previous community safety order (CSO) from October 2018.

SCAN’s latest investigation began in March 2019, in response to complaints that drug activity had resumed after the property was returned to the owner in January 2019.

SCAN investigators substantiated the complaints about renewed drug activity and gathered evidence in support of a CSO application in Court of Queen’s Bench.

Over the past two years, Calgary police have responded to 39 incidents at the property, including a fatal drug overdose in January 2018 and an assault in August 2019 that involved two men beating a resident of the house with a baseball bat and a ball-peen hammer.

The SCAN unit works with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the authority to target these problem properties through civil enforcement.

Since its establishment in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated more than 5,000 problem properties and issued nearly 80 community safety orders. The majority of complaints are resolved informally, by working with property owners to keep criminal activity out of the community.