Drumheller Penitentiary reported illicit drone activity as an unknown person neared their Penitentiary on March 26.  The person fled the scene when they were approached but left a backpack behind containing methamphetamine, hash oil, a scale, cell phones, and other drug trafficking-related items.   

An operation on May 10 led by the Drumheller RCMP General Investigation Section resulted in two search warrants being executed, one in Rosedale and one in Calgary where the following was seized:

  • 3 drones
  • 4 cell phones
  • A taser
  • Brass knuckles
  • Canadian currency
  • Suspected methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl
  • Other items consistent with drug trafficking

Calgary resident John McConnel was arrested and charged with the following:

  • Trafficking a controlled substance
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking
  • Proceeds of crime
  • Drive while disqualified

Tawny Markiewicz from Morrin and Jeffrey Morse from Drumheller were also arrested during the operation as a result of an observed drug transaction. Both were jointly charged with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking. Morse was also charged with Failing to Comply with a Release Order.

Detachment Commander of Drumheller Detachment, S/Sgt. Robert Harms stated

“This is an in-depth and complex investigation involving the RCMP and our valued partners of Correctional Services Canada and Calgary Police Service.  Several RCMP support units also played a key role in the investigation and included Drumheller General Duty members, Southern Alberta Crime Reduction Unit, Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit, Digital Forensic Services Unit, Special Investigations Unit, and Special Operations Unit.  This investigation and its results demonstrate our effective partnerships, capabilities, and dedication to safe and secure communities in Alberta.”

After a Judicial Interim Release Hearing, McConnell was released to appear in Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on June 9, 2023 and Markiewicz was released from custody on an undertaking and is to appear in Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on June 16, 2023. Morse was remanded into custody by a Justice of the Peace during a Judicial Interim Release Hearing and is scheduled to appear in Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on May 12, 2023.

The RCMP added additional charges are pending regarding this matter as the investigation continues.

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