Affidavit provides new details about huge booze bust in Yellowknife apartment

Recently filed court documents provide some insight into what the RCMP described as likely the largest liquor seizure ever in the Northwest Territories.

Police found what amounted to a small liquor store's worth of alcohol in a Yellowknife apartment on Aug. 1. The occupant of the apartment, Fraser Trennert, is currently facing Liquor Act charges.

According to an affidavit sworn by one of the investigating officers, Const. Keir Ramsay, police had been keeping an eye on the apartment for more than a year, following a break-in at the ground-floor unit at Fraser Arms East in May 2018.

Ramsay swore the affidavit as part of the application for the search warrant. None of the information contained in the document has been tested in court. Though he has been charged, Trennert is presumed innocent.

Whoever broke into Trennert's apartment that May stole bottles of alcohol they found in the kitchen. Ramsay said he spoke to the investigating officer about it.

'Like a store'

Submitted by RCMP

"He saw bottles of vodka and bottles of Private Stock wine stocked in the kitchen cupboards like a store," stated Ramsay. "He told me there were cases of beer and various other varieties of liquor stacked in closets and also sitting out in plain sight."

Then, in September 2018, the RCMP started getting complaints from the building manager "regarding intoxicated people banging on Fraser's ground-floor window and yelling at all hours of the night."

The issue got so bad that the property management company hired a private security company to monitor the unit through August and September 2018.

In the affidavit, Ramsay states that on Sept. 15 of that year, RCMP were responding to a call at the downtown liquor store when they saw Trennert wheeling a buggy of alcohol to the counter.

"He purchased several kinds of liquor including Private Stock wine, Smirnoff vodka and cans of beer. His purchase was over $900 and he paid in cash."

When the officers mentioned the purchase to staff at the store, the employees said Trennert comes in a few times a week and always pays cash, according to the affidavit.

Sold alcohol on Sundays

The affidavit states that two days later, the RCMP spoke to the Fraser Arms East property manager about another complaint she had received. A tenant had complained that the person in Trennert's unit was "blatantly selling alcohol from his residence at all hours of the night and specifically on Sundays when the liquor stores are closed."

The tenant said drunk people were hanging around the parking lot, being loud and obnoxious.

"The tenant said the suspect even had to put a sign on his living room window at one point this summer that read, 'Please do not knock on window' because so many people were coming to his window at night."

It's not clear why there was such a long delay but, according to the affidavit, it wasn't until this past July that police decided to surveil the apartment. They were there the mornings of July 29 and Aug. 1.

According to the affidavit, officers saw a steady business at the apartment, with people arriving on foot and by taxi and leaving after a brief visit to the apartment.

They stopped a woman they saw leaving the apartment and found two bottles of Private Stock in her purse. She said she paid $20 for each but would not say who sold them to her.

Police entered the apartment and arrested Trennert a few minutes later.

In addition to the hundreds of bottles and cans of booze, they found just over $1,800 in cash inside the apartment.

Trennert, who was released following his arrest, made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday.