Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SHAKEN BY THE EXPERIENCE – Breanne, left, and Calista Silverfox are seen in their unit in the Skyline Apartments earlier this afternoon.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

COLLATERAL DAMAGE – The door to Apt. 304 at the Skyline Apartments was damaged during the RCMP raid.

‘I’ve never felt so violated in my whole life’

For two young women in Riverdale, 2015 ended on an exceptionally bad note – having their apartment raided by the RCMP and being arrested for drug trafficking.

By Aimee O'Connor on January 5, 2016

For two young women in Riverdale, 2015 ended on an exceptionally bad note – having their apartment raided by the RCMP and being arrested for drug trafficking.

Breanne Silverfox was awakened at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to the sounds of her dogs barking.

When she got out of bed to go see what the commotion was, she heard an abrupt knock at the door.

A voice shouted, “Police! Open Up!”

“I got scared, so I started running to the back of the house,” Silverfox said in an interview Monday.

Police entered the dwelling and threw a flash grenade in Silverfox’s direction, she said.

“They told me to get down on the ground,” she said, adding that she was not wearing a shirt and was trying to cover herself up with a blanket.

“They said, ‘You know what’s going on. You know why this is happening. You’re being arrested for trafficking drugs.’”

Silverfox, 19, and her sister, Calista, 23 were both arrested at the apartment.

Their boyfriends, who were also there sleeping, were also arrested.

Three units in the Lewes Boulevard apartment building, Skyline Apartments, were raided that morning.

The Yukon government’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) program initiated an investigation on the three units after receiving complaints from concerned citizens, a government press release stated this morning.

“During their investigation, SCAN investigators found evidence that apartments were habitually being used to traffic controlled drugs,” said RCMP Insp. Archie Thompson.

More specifically, frequent and short visits to the apartments were occurring at all hours of the day, and both money and drugs were being openly exchanged, the government press release stated.

The RCMP were alerted to SCAN’s investigation on Dec. 18.

The Federal Investigations Unit launched its own probe to corroborate information received by SCAN.

The police investigation led to three search warrants being executed, resulting in the arrests of 10 individuals, the RCMP reported.

Marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia were also seized that morning.

Criminal Code charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act have been laid against four individuals.

Three of the charges are for possession of marijuana, and one for possession of cocaine.

The other six who were arrested, including the Silverfox sisters and their boyfriends, were released and not charged.

“It doesn’t mean that police can’t charge them if they had been released,” Cpl. Natasha Dunmall said this morning.

“Police can arrest and un-arrest people, as longs as there are grounds for the arrest.”

And there were grounds to make the initial arrest, Dunmall said, adding that there had also been sufficient information presented to obtain the search warrant in the first place.

“There was evidence at that time... to believe there were drugs trafficked,” Dunmall said.

“For us to get a warrant, there’s a high threshold we have to meet.”

Both Breanne and Calista Silverfox insist the police would not have found any form of drugs or paraphernalia in their apartment.

“We’re not bad people or drug dealers,” Calista said.

The young women and their boyfriends were released from the RCMP arrest protection unit at about 6:30 p.m. that day.

They said they arrived home to find the search warrant stuck to their fridge. They had been served with eviction papers from SCAN – the tenants were to leave the premises within five days.

“I have to take care of my family,” Calista said.

“I’m going to try and fight this eviction. This is our first (apartment), and we’re evicted after the first month, and now our name is bad.”

Prior to living in this apartment, Calista said, she and her four sisters had lived downstairs in the same building, in their father’s apartment.

Calista noted that her father’s apartment was part of the RCMP raid as well.

The Silverfox siblings’ eviction is due to the work of SCAN.

“(SCAN) can work to shut down the house ... and displace the individuals,” Dunmall said.

The RCMP, on the other hand, deals with the individuals specifically.

“If we can do a joint investigation that gets the individuals and the residence out of the equation, then that’s beneficial to everybody,” she said.

Both Calista and Breanne insist that they shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.

“If they were monitoring (our apartment), they would have seen us partying. That shouldn’t be a reason to be arrested,” Calista said.

Furthermore, the sisters allege that they were treated improperly by police officers.

Breanne was topless when the RCMP invaded the residence and was told not to move from her position on the floor.

Calista was wearing a T-shirt and a skirt that was raised up high enough to expose her when one police officer yanked her out of bed, she said.

“This guy rips me out of bed and my body is being exposed to all the men in this room,” she said.

Breanne’s boyfriend was arrested wearing only boxers, while Calista’s boyfriend, the only Caucasian in the apartment, was permitted to get dressed, she said.

“I (was) totally exposed. I’ve never felt so violated and disrespected in my whole life,” she said.

“And by police officers. They’re supposed to be protecting us.”

Dunmall explained that in these types of situations, safety and security of evidence are the RCMP’s main concerns.

When police knock on a door and there is no response, Dunmall said, officers are not aware of what’s on the other side of the door.

“Whether people are dressed or not wasn’t the concern of the police at that time,” she said.

Individuals in the apartment during the raid must be secured in one spot and not allowed to wander around the apartment, she explained.

“We don’t know if they’re going to go get a weapon .... When the residence has been deemed safe, then the individual needs of the people are met.”

The Silverfox sisters say the incident adds to the list of family members who have been mistreated by the RCMP.

Their uncle, Raymond Silverfox, died after having spent 13 hours in RCMP custody in 2008.

The head of Yukon’s RCMP later apologized for the “insensitive and callous treatment” of the 43-year-old Silverfox while in RCMP custody.

More recently, the Silverfox’s say, another relative was involved in police mistreatment.

Their cousin, Josh Skookum, was caught on video being punched by an RCMP officer in April 2015.

“That video went viral. And now this happens to us.” Calista said.

“I don’t respect the police at all, actually.”

The Yukon RCMP cannot comment as to whether the Silverfox’s are still under investigation.

The SCAN investigation revealed bylaw, building fire and safety code violations in the units at Skyline Apartments.

Whitehorse Bylaw Services and the Whitehorse Fire Department will inspect the apartment building and provide direction for the owner to address the issues.

In 2015, SCAN investigated 60 complaints of illegal activity and took action in 11 cases, said SCAN director Jeff Ford.

Comments (38)

Up 2 Down 0

No Comment - really? on Jan 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is making life more difficult for rank-and-file officers by stating publicly that there are racists on the force who he would like to remove from duty, the association that represents the force’s members says. In a strongly worded statement, it said the commissioner’s response earlier this month to questions about racism against indigenous people was rife with sweeping generalizations and puts officers in harm’s way, both legally and personally.

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No Comment on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:00 am

I like how people keep bringing up Mr. Silverfox's case as if the RCMP never learned from that mistake. Those same people continue to think the RCMP still operate that way. Things have changed people, mistakes were made, learned from, and corrected.... and now we're moving on. Rehashing old hatred will only breed more hatred.

Up 6 Down 57

dumwall - really? High threshold? on Jan 10, 2016 at 2:04 am

High threshold is complete B.S. Go read the court transcripts. Numerous court cases are thrown out or suspects are acquitted because of false accusations made by police that fail the test of beyond a reasonable doubt.

If a member says this is what's happening then they can get a warrant and get the arrest. It's whether they get a conviction that matters.

Up 6 Down 0

Mr man on Jan 9, 2016 at 4:17 pm

I guess the Skyline apartments has its own Twitter feed, lol. @skylineyukon

Up 10 Down 62

Arn Anderson on Jan 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Confused here...You can get charged for substandard illegal products. Cocaine that probably isn't even cocaine anymore after being cut so much and being sold at the Skyline? Weed? Wow, I am feel so safe now....

Up 144 Down 13

confused on Jan 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Why was this girl going to answer the door topless? is my first question and second I'm sorry but police do not just kick down people's door for the heck of it. They need to make sure they have enough reason so that things like this can't come to bite them in the ass.

Up 90 Down 6

ProScience Greenie on Jan 7, 2016 at 12:56 pm

There are a lot of people in this territory that may not deal or do crack cocaine but they know people that do and still associate with them. Best to give those types of people the cold shoulder and have nothing to do with them.

Again, booze and weed can sometimes cause big problems but anything to do with crack cocaine is guaranteed to bring misery. It's bad stuff. Stay away from it and do whatever you can in your situation to keep it out of the Yukon.

Up 51 Down 166

yukoner on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

If I had an uncle that endured the same treatment that Raymond Silverfox did from the Yukon RCMP... I would not have respect for the police either.

Up 105 Down 58

Darren on Jan 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Max Mack
I can see you might know something about warrants from TV shows, but it takes a lot of work and documentation to have a warrant signed off. Those actually working in law enforcement would know this. To bring insufficient information in to the courts for a warrant would only have it turned away. The onus is on law enforcement to gather enough supporting evidence for any type of charge, summons, information or warrant. Regardless, Scan and the RCMP should be given positive feedback for evicting and charging these people. Thanks for keeping our streets safe for our children guys!

Up 25 Down 37

Not nameing on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm

And if a scan saw a lot of traffic, I think they've been their a month, lots of visitors checking out the new place.

Up 66 Down 115

Not nameing on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Wow if they were released with no charges and evicted without reason, harsh. Maybe if the building was more secure with cameras on the inside. If anyone knows the building, they know who the real dealer was. The scan should give the girls a new place to live. They have every right to take this to court. Read before making rude comments.

Up 115 Down 37

Feeling good about all the busts.... on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:39 pm

to No Name, "no relation"??? Pfffft! sure sure, I'm sure most of us know otherwise, the truth!
And to bring the heart-breaking situation of what happened to Raymond Silverfox to this equation is a sad card to play girls, shame on you.
Basically, hear, hear to the majority of comments here - and ditto to Doug's comments.

Up 89 Down 27

FCO on Jan 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

SCAN does not evict for partying tenants. Obviously they were being watched and complaints were made by neighbors;
A report is made, the tenants or homeowners are observed by SCAN agents and then are evicted or forced from the home they own without the matter ever going before the courts and without ever knowing their accuser.

Up 60 Down 98

Max Mack on Jan 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

You said ". . . concrete evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a jp to sign off on a warrant." Contrary to your assertion, JPs habitually sign off on search warrants, so much so that it is considered pro forma. This does not speak to the quality of the evidence or charges presented to the court. In my opinion, I think it is fairly safe to say that the current process provides a very thin veneer of judicial oversight.

On a separate note, being young and partying is not grounds for a SCAN eviction. Something smells foul here.

Up 109 Down 159

No name on Jan 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm

The cops had no reason to raid this apartment, the residents have no relation to trafficking, their neighbors did. The police raided the wrong apartment and mistreated these girls in their home, and found nothing.

Up 51 Down 66

Whitehorse on Jan 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

buncha keyboard warriors on here, no one knows the whole story, just drugs were found, but which apartment was it?
It says the investigation was on for 4 months, Calista and her sister were in that apartment for a month.

Up 160 Down 54

Bob on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:50 am

They feel disrespected?!??
What about all the neighbors being disrespected while partying all the time. I've never heard of people 'partying' all the time being quiet.

The gimme entitlement generation at it's finest. We can be ignorant and disrespect YOU and YOUR family and your peace and quiet, but heaven forbid someone try and stop us from doing whatever WE want!

Up 72 Down 102

judy st amand on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm

I don't know what planet the other comments came from, but these people were released because the police did not have a case. The girls are saying there were no drugs and the police did not refute or say aye.
How old are you? Young people "party" and some of us old people too!
The police released them without pressing charges for a reason, but obviously you small town minds know better, as usual....

Up 159 Down 71

Lori on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:31 pm

I think these two girls crying police brutally is bs. Not to mention the embarrassment they bring to themselves by saying it's racial. I applaud the scan program!

Up 51 Down 88

No name on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm

You know it's pretty sad that they let one of the men get dressed while they made the girls lie there half naked. Oh, but the cops are just doing their jobs right!

Up 44 Down 53

Martin on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:26 pm

The girls worry that they will be out of the apartment; I say don't worry; I read that YTG will be building many places for FNs in the Wasted Bend thanks to "Social Housing money" just for this kind of "need".

Up 117 Down 62

R. Delanor on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:05 pm

These young people are 19 and 23 and have obviously not learned to take responsibility for their actions. They live a life style which puts them at risk for many different issues, arrest and eviction are the least of their problems should they continue to party and make their friends out of the scum pond. To imply that they were so treated because they are FN and drag out all of the family names who have police contact was perhaps not a wise decision.

As for police behavior; they are not obliged to put their own lives in danger. When they say, open the door, police. Why run to the back of the place? An innocent person might instead say, have you got ID? Personally, I would open the door immediately. I do not have any police training. I do not know where they draw the line on response. Is it after someone is shot? Or someone pulls a weapon? or if they think there might be danger? People have to remember that that policeman is just another person and that person could perceive the situation to be a me or them issue. When the policeman says stop; says drop the frying pan, says, get on the floor, then do it. Live to fight it in civil court another day. I do not fault police actions as recorded in this article.

Up 56 Down 55

Jordyn on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:56 pm

This is so stupid. This house gets raided while the police were looking for someone who doesn't even live there!! Flash banged and tasered the dog! There were no drugs in the house. Did they flash bang the Crack dealers house and use excessive force with them? I don't think so they still have a door on their house!! This article has made it seem like it wasn't that bad. But the police trashed their house and didn't find anything and they are still being kicked out on the street in the middle of winter!!!

Up 66 Down 108

Dave on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:17 pm

This has to one of the craziest stings I have seen happen in Whitehorse. First they took down 3 separate apartments thinking that they were linked in selling narcotics, they found drugs and money combined it in a pile and lumped drug charges linking two separate apartments.
If the RCMP had done any leg work they would realize that the two were separate operations. One was a supplier of medical grade marijuana, and the other apartment sold more! As for the party girls anyone who thinks that girls that age won't party must have had a boring life, partying can mean a lot of things, dancing, games, socializing.
Doing drugs and drinking REALLY that's the first thing you think of when someone says party in the Yukon?
I know several people who will have to find a new source for their chronic pain.
I wonder if this is how it was before the end of prohibition?

Up 106 Down 53

Adam on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:08 pm

It's very hard to feel sorry for these two, considering they're the victims of their own circumstances. I'm not sure if people are aware what's involved in obtaining a warrant, but there needs to be a lot of concrete evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a jp to sign off on a warrant. That, along with months of an investigation and surveillance for a drug house. I applaud scan and the RCMP for a job well done, and getting these drugs off the street and these garbage drug houses shut down. If you deal drugs or are involved in any way, shape or form, we don't want you in our town.

Up 106 Down 26

Doug on Jan 5, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Everyone that gets arrested screams mistreatment...when people are arrested for DUI they figure the cops should be out busting drug dealers....they bust drug dealers they scream for the police to go arrest rapist...then they arrest a rapist they say can't you go solve a murder or something. Don't like it? Don't drive drunk, don't deal drugs, and treat people with respect. Life is simple...try putting yourself in a position to succeed, not trafficking drugs or at best shacking up with those who do, don't cry wolf...

Up 56 Down 37

Groucho d'North on Jan 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Are we witnessing a trend here when members of a particular family run afoul of the law? Naw - its probably just a coincidence. My hat's off to Smarch for your candor.

Up 95 Down 42

Rusty on Jan 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Chances are if your door gets knocked down by the police you've done something wrong. Associate with criminals and don't be surprised when you get painted with the same brush.

Up 61 Down 20

June Jackson on Jan 5, 2016 at 6:23 pm

I agree totally with most of the other posters. Their names were not posted..and Smarch is right.. if they didn't go to the papers the people that knew about their arrest would be pretty limited.

There is so much crime going on in Whitehorse right now and not all of it petty crime either.. shootings and murders.. While policemen know when they choose that career that one day it could cost their life.. it would be foolish not to take every precaution possible to protect themselves. I don't have much use for M Division cops.. but I still don't want them..or anyone else, to come to harm.

Up 119 Down 52

Mark Lewes on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Sorry girls, No sympathy on my end. Kudos to the RCMP for shutting another den down and getting that crap off the streets.

Up 47 Down 83

Fresh Perspective on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Good people can still do the wrong things. The allegations against the RCMP are just as valid, as the RCMP's actions, until proven otherwise. Whitehorse is so quick to judge, and assume that those who've had bad things happen, had them coming. That is a perverse mentality. It lacks compassion, and encourages the likelihood that someone will be abused, and have their statements ignored.

Up 148 Down 29

what more? on Jan 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm

This and then the other 144 calls they received that evening. And we wonder why police can't respond quickly to all the other petty crimes that this town is succumbing to.

Maybe more money needs to be allotted to our law enforcement to employ more officers. Or maybe Bylaw should be more involved in some matters (traffic, for instance as that one seems to be a growing concern as well).

Up 178 Down 59

Johnsmith on Jan 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Wrong place, wrong time? Give me a break.

Up 166 Down 54

moe on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:54 pm

“If they were monitoring (our apartment), they would have seen us partying. That shouldn’t be a reason to be arrested,” Calista said
Landlords generally do not rent to people who's pastime is to 'Party'. In other words sitting around getting drunk and/or doing drugs with other people who 'party' with their lives.

Up 213 Down 86

YukonDarlin on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm

What these girls are saying doesn't add up. The release has already been made saying that they found illegal drugs. Are they trying to get the public on their side by crying "police mistreatment"?

Up 308 Down 94

smarch on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm

This article is well balanced for the star. I don't even remotely feel sorry for these women. I am sorry that you were half naked, but the cop was right, how are they supposed to know. As a FN I don't think you were discriminated against and shame on you for playing that card. No one would even know this was you, if you didn't go to the papers. I just see people wanting to get easy money from a lawsuit.

Up 163 Down 72

Rod on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:16 pm

She sounds like such an innocent victim!
"I don't respect the police at all, actually" she says!
Just another sad story of the police harassing these poor victims...I mean we all know the police just get bored and pick on random individuals!

Up 177 Down 22

ProScience Greenie on Jan 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Booze and weed can mess people up but not in a way that is even close to how crack cocaine, meth and other hard drugs do.
Young or old, if you don't get that hanging around with people that use and deal those hard drugs are messed up and contributing to our number one social problem then many of us will show little sympathy to you when the police come knocking.
If you know folks that use or deal crack cocaine and the like, either report them or if you are not in a situation to do so then do everything you can to stay away from them.

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