Lethbridge Police have recovered more than $100,000 worth fentanyl, oxycodone and other prescription narcotics as well as guns and $60,000 worth of property stolen in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the past few weeks.
On Aug. 30, 2016, police responded to a break and enter in progress along the 700 block of 13 Street South after a person was observed crawling through a window. Further investigation determined the home was being used to stash stolen property. A search warrant was subsequently executed and police recovered two stolen rifles and an assortment of other stolen property. Two men – an 18-year-old and 19-year-old – were taken into custody and a 35-year-old male left the city in a stolen vehicle.
Members of the Priority Crimes Unit assumed the investigation.
On September 13, 2016 the 35-year-old male, who had previously fled the city, was located along with the stolen vehicle in the 1300 block of 13 Avenue North where he was arrested without incident. A stolen shotgun was recovered from the vehicle and police obtained a second search warrant for a residence. Seven additional rifles were located inside the home along with assorted stolen property and a significant quantity of narcotics – roughly 8,000 pills – including fentanyl, oxycodone and hydromorphone.
Investigators determined the narcotics had been stolen during a break and enter at a pharmacy in Saskatchewan. Other stolen property, including some of the firearms, have been sourced back to break and enters in several communities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The value of the stolen vehicle was recovered by police is approximately $50,000, and the other assorted property, including the guns, approximately $10,000.
James Maxwell Andrew Moczo, 35, is charged with theft of a motor vehicle, three counts each of unauthorized possession of a firearm, knowingly possessing an unauthorized firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm in a vehicle, two counts of housebreaking and commit theft and one count each of possession of stolen property under $5,000, possession of stolen property over $5,000, shopbreaking and commit theft and possession of a firearm obtained by the commission of an offence.
Moczo is remanded in custody to appear in court Sept. 21.
Draye Storm Sterba, 18, is charged with two counts each of unauthorized possession of a firearm, knowingly possessing an unauthorized firearm, unsafe storage of a firearm, possession of property obtained by the crime and break and enter to a dwelling to commit theft.
Derek Edward Schalk, 19, is charged with theft of a motor vehicle, possession of property obtained by crime and two counts each of unauthorized possession of a firearm, knowingly possessing an unauthorized firearm, unsafe storage of a firearm, possession of property obtained by the crime and break and enter to a dwelling to commit theft.
Sterba and Schalk made their first court appearances earlier this month and both have been released on a recognizance.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated.