The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) has made 10 arrests linked to a huge fentanyl seizure in July of last year.

The investigation, dubbed Project Essence, involved 13 warrants that were carried out, including a suspected fentanyl superlab near Aldersyde.

Project Essence resulted in the seizure of 31 kilograms of fentanyl and 7600 kilograms of chemicals used to make fentanyl, with an estimated street value north of $300 million.

It was enough to produce hundreds of millions of doses, according to ALERT and Health Canada.

Aside from drugs and chemicals, ALERT also seized 18 handguns, a rifle, $25,000 in cash and jewelry, six vehicles, four motorcycles, three trailers, and a boat.

project essence handgunsFirearms were also seized. Photo courtesy of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.

Charges were laid on 10 suspects earlier this month.

The delay in arrests being made was due to a few factors according to ALERT, including reports and disclosure for Crown Counsel, as well as expert analysis on the substances from Health Canada.

A total of 139 charges have been laid against 10 suspects:

  • Juan Galan, 55-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Gregory Hebb, 45-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Ryan Simpson, 41-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Jesse Deranger, 28-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Dakota Hogg, 27-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Christopher Loyie, 33-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Jonathon Loyie, 35-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Chad Loyie, 33-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Sierra Meuller, 19-year-old woman from Edmonton;
  • Graham Thomas, 32-year-old man from Edmonton.

The long list of charges includes production of a controlled substance, firearms trafficking, and laundering proceeds of crime.

A release from ALERT thanked a number of agencies for their assistance, including the Okotoks Fire Department, Foothill County Fire Department, Edmonton Police, Calgary Police, RCMP, Health Canada, Alberta Health Services, CBSA, British Columbia Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and Alberta Environment.

The full charge sheet can be seen here.