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Northerners charged in large drug seizure in Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

A street in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., in January 2017. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)
A street in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., in January 2017. (Walter Strong/CBC - image credit)

Unlike many drug busts involving cocaine and guns in the Northwest Territories, all of the people charged as a result of a search two weeks ago in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., appear to be northerners.

RCMP arrested and charged six people. The Mounties say they seized 1.3 kilograms of what they believe to be powdered and crack cocaine, possibly the largest cocaine seizure ever in the community of 1,250 people. In a news release, police say they also seized six grams of the deadly opioid fentanyl and a loaded handgun.

Four people are facing eight charges each of drug trafficking and firearms offences. They are 24-year-old Harley Betsedea; Matthew Poitras, 40; Corey James Beaulieu, 25; and a 32-year-old woman CBC was unable to identify.

Anthony Cli, 57, and Alisha Grossetette, 25, were also charged with drug trafficking as a result of the search.

Typically people from the south, sometimes associated with B.C. or Alberta gangs, are involved when guns and large amounts of drugs are found in the territory. In past drug trials, police experts have testified the North is an attractive market because of the higher prices people are willing to pay for drugs.

Most of the people who were charged are due to appear in court in Fort Simpson later this month. One of them — Corey Beaulieu — remains in custody.