RCMP arrest 5 people in Whitehorse after 3-year drug trafficking investigation

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Yukon RCMP say they arrested five people in Whitehorse earlier this month as part of a three-year investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering.

After searching homes and a business, police said they found cocaine, methamphetamine, weapons, and $450,000 in cash. Officers also found vehicles and other items allegedly stolen from local businesses.

Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said he arrests could have a "significant impact."

"When it comes to the drug problem, the opioid problem ... we're not going to arrest our way out of this, but this is part of a solution," Sheppard said Thursday.

He said the alleged crimes were negatively affecting Yukon's vulnerable population, as well as the economy.

Yukon RCMP
Yukon RCMP

RCMP say the investigation, dubbed Project MUSKRAT, began in December 2017 and initially focused on drug trafficking.

Yukon RCMP's federal investigation unit then partnered with the Canada Revenue Agency in August 2019 to investigate tax offences.

On Nov. 4, police say they searched four homes, a business on Main Street and a storage locker.

Three men and two women between the ages of 29 and 39 were charged with various offences, including the possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, firearms offences and money laundering.

Yukon RCMP
Yukon RCMP

The accused have all been released and will appear in court at a later date.

The people who were charged were "at the top" of the investigation, said Sheppard.

Some of the main people involved in the drug trafficking were business owners, said Supt. Chan Daktari Dara.

Sheppard said Yukon's drug trade is "as alive and well here as it is in any other community across the country."

He said police are still in early stages of the investigation, and more arrests are possible.

Yukon RCMP
Yukon RCMP