Police officers from six detachments rapidly coordinated their resources to track and arrest five Westside gang members.
The Maidstone RCMP, Saskatchewan RCMP Roving Traffic Unit (RTU), the Saskatchewan RCMP Protection and Response Team (PRT), Saskatchewan RCMP Highway Patrol, Turtleford RCMP, Onion Lake RCMP, and the Lloydminster RCMP all worked together to nab the alleged Westside gang members that took police on an approximate 150 kilometre, two-hour chase.
Police arrested Tonia Cantel, 22, from North Battleford, Juanita Wahpistikwan, 21, from Big Island Cree Nation, Kyle Lajimodiere from Cold Lake, and two youths from Big Island Lake Cree Nation.
The five were charged with theft of a vehicle, storing a prohibited firearm, four counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm without a license, being a vehicle with an unauthorized firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm with accessible ammunition without registration, possession a firearm with an altered serial number, endangering the safety of the public, and flight from police.
According to Maidstone RCMP, they received a call on Nov. 20 at about 3 p.m. about a grey Honda stolen at a business in Lashburn by three men dressed in red. The men were seen fleeing east on Hwy 16 in the grey Honda car followed by a small red Ford car.
Maidstone RCMP alerted the Saskatchewan RCMP RTU who was already on Hwy 16 southeast of Lashburn to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle. The RCMP RTU located the eastbound stolen grey car without the second red car. The RCMP RTU followed the stolen grey car and used emergency lights to get the stolen grey car to stop but the driver continued east, turned around and then went west on Hwy 16 at a high rate of speed.
After getting confirmation the stolen grey car was still in the Lashburn area, Maidstone RCMP mobilized its partners to be on the lookout for the stolen grey car, report its direction of travel and stay in constant communication. The Saskatchewan RCMP PRT was activated and the Saskatchewan RCMP Highway Patrol on Hwy 16, as well as the Lloydminster RCMP who were asked to help track the movements of the speeding stolen grey car.
While the stolen grey car was being tracked, the Lashburn Fire Department advised Maidstone RCMP they received a report of a small red car on fire, east of Lashburn on Range Road 3250.
The RCMP PRT first saw the stolen grey car travelling west on Hwy 16, west of the Marshall Weigh Station, and then east on Kempton Road towards Hwy 303. Maidstone RCMP, Lloydminster RCMP, the RCMP RTU, and the RCMP PRT - a total of eight police vehicles - decided to spread out and actively patrol an extended rural area around Lashburn.
Maidstone RCMP located the grey car near Paradise Hill, about 60 kilometres north of Lashburn, travelling west on Hwy 3. They monitored the movements of the stolen grey car and observed the stolen grey car turn north on Road 797 in the direction of Frenchman Butte.
Maidstone RCMP asked Onion Lake RCMP and Turtleford RCMP to be on the lookout for the stolen grey car. Shortly after, Maidstone RCMP radioed the new direction of the stolen grey car to Turtleford RCMP who were able to position themselves on Township Road 540 to deploy a tire deflation device before the stolen grey car arrived.
The tire deflation device was deployed at the right time and, at about 4:40 p.m., the stolen grey car was forced to a stop, shortly after having turned onto Hwy 21.
Maidstone RCMP and Turtleford RCMP officers arrested all five occupants of the stolen grey car, without incident. A search of the stolen grey car resulted in the seizure of one sawed-off modified rifle, ammunition, a machete, a BB pistol and several knives.
Anyone with information regarding the ownership, occupants or whereabouts of the small red car, on Friday, Nov. 20 at around 3 p.m. in and around Lashburn, Sask., is asked to call Maidstone RCMP at 306-893-4800. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com.
If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance.
The Saskatchewan Roving Traffic Unit (RTU) is a mobile traffic enforcement team comprised of Saskatchewan RCMP officers who work in flexible schedules and areas. They address public and traffic safety issues across the Province of Saskatchewan.
The five remain in custody and appear in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Dec. 3.
Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist