Whitehorse Daily Star

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CHARGES FOLLOW SEIZURES – The RCMP seized drugs, weapons, ammunition and cash from five Whitehorse locations earlier this month as part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation. Photos courtesy RCMP

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

THE PROBLEM CONTINUES – The recent seizures confirm the drug trade is ‘alive and well in the Yukon,’ says RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, seen at Thursday morning’s media briefing in Whitehorse.

Police announce charges, seizures of money, drugs, weapons

The RCMP searched five Whitehorse locations earlier this month, and they yielded drugs, weapons, stolen property and $450,000 in cash.

By Gabrielle Plonka on November 19, 2020

The RCMP searched five Whitehorse locations earlier this month, and they yielded drugs, weapons, stolen property and $450,000 in cash.

Five people have been charged as part of an ongoing investigation, RCMP announced Thursday morning.

“The RCMP believes these individuals and businesses were involved not only in trafficking drugs, but in money laundering,” said RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard.

The ongoing investigation is part of Project MUSKRAT, a drug trafficking probe that began in 2017.

On Nov. 4, RCMP and Canada Revenue Agency officials executed a search warrant due to suspected trafficking and tax offences.

Investigators searched three Whitehorse residences, a storage locker and a business on Main Street.

Officers found suspected cocaine; suspected methamphetamine; a handgun and high-capacity magazine; a conducted energy weapon; stolen property and cash.

The five people charged each appeared in court earlier this month and have been released on conditions. 

Levy Blanchard, 39, Celia Wright, 29, Sylvio Lin, 32, and Johnny Mak, 33, were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

Blanchard, Wright and Lin also face numerous firearms offences. Lin was the only individual charged with money laundering.

Melody Grini-Blanchard, 29, was charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000; two counts of possession of a prohibited device; and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Lin will next appear in court on Dec. 9, and Grini-Blanchard will appear on Jan. 11.

Sheppard said it’s possible that more arrests will be made, as the investigation is in its early stages. He noted that the seizures confirm the drug trade is “alive and well” in the Yukon.

“The concern is that the drug trade brings with it its own culture of violence and intimidation,” Sheppard said.

“Especially when you have presumably a closed market such as Yukon, it can be quite lucrative for people to sell drugs here.”

The seized drugs will be tested for fentanyl, a dangerous drug and painkiller found in many street opioids. 

Fentanyl overdoses caused more than half of the Yukon’s opioid-related deaths in the first half of this year.

Sheppard said he’s committed to working with health officials to address the territory’s drug problem.

“I realized long ago that when it comes to the drug problem … we’re not going to arrest our way out of this,” Sheppard said.

“We only charged five individuals right now, near the top of the file, but the impact of drugs in the community is far-reaching.”

The chief superintendent said First Nation chiefs have confided that drug activity is the main concern for many of the Yukon’s communities.

“It is a serious problem that has a lasting impact, and there are significant costs associated to it, in terms of policing, in terms of the social impact, in terms of the health impact, quality of life,” Sheppard said.

“Those things just go on to impact other things like business, and people feeling safe in their community, and tourism.”

Comments (23)

Up 1 Down 0

Tabbitha McKenna on Dec 15, 2020 at 4:02 pm

These lowlife criminals are finally getting what they ask for! Maybe now she can focus on actually being a mother instead of a drug smuggling housewife and not to mention, using laundered money to establish their clothing businesses around town.

Up 7 Down 1

Josey Wales on Nov 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Hey...just a thought?

" Vice Wireless"
Too soon?

Up 10 Down 11

Charles Bronson on Nov 25, 2020 at 7:10 am

Death penalty for them all. That is the one thing Countries like Thailand have correct. Drug dealers are murderers and need to be treated like murderers.

Up 12 Down 4

Yukoner75 on Nov 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Johnny Mak was always going on about his gun rights as he supported Jonas Smith and Currie Dixon and liked all their facebook posts. Guess it all makes sense now as to why he owned such an arsenal.

Up 20 Down 2

Sue2 on Nov 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

Great Job! There are more drug dealers in the Yukon...and they are likely under investigation right now! Selfish lovers who have killed people. The only people who don't care if they kill their customers.

Up 18 Down 3

Guncache on Nov 23, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Released on conditions, what a joke. Years ago there was a big raid on various houses with grow ops. All caught were released on conditions. Court day arrives and guess what? NONE of them showed up, they all disappeared and I don't think they were ever located.

Up 38 Down 3

Ironic on Nov 23, 2020 at 10:28 am

The same group that publicly shames people on FB on their pages for stealing...oh the irony.

Up 28 Down 4

Rod on Nov 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm

Didn’t one work at a child’s clothing store? Hahah what a bunch of tools.

Up 23 Down 2

Nathan Living on Nov 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm

The issue is the drug trafficking and money laundering and stolen goods and any contribution to fentenyl deaths.

Up 47 Down 3

PuraVida on Nov 21, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Thank you RCMP for cleaning up this garbage from our city. People like this should be expelled from our Territory.

Up 33 Down 37

Thomas Brewer on Nov 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm

In all fairness, they're only following the model behavior of our former government leader Dennis Fentie.

Up 56 Down 12

Mike on Nov 20, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Get it straight folks none of these people have ever had a legitimate job in their lives. They have earned every cent from selling fentanyl filled cocaine to our people for decades not a couple years. Why doesn't the RCMP seize all their assets, like everywhere else in Canada proceeds of crime, and how is it they get out? Oh yeah, never mind they cooperated and gave up a few bigger fish so its all good. The sad thing is those bigger fish aren't here and the damage they've caused is here so how about stopping lets make a deal and start giving these guys a real sentence. Oh yeah, I forgot they're wannabe gangsters so can't send them down to the real gangsters otherwise they'd be dealt with accordingly. Oh well, Yukon Justice let's give the homeless addicted shoplifters 18 months but cut these guys some slack. I mean without them how would the Yukon survive? MY RANT IS FINISHED.

Up 58 Down 3

CarpeQuiet on Nov 20, 2020 at 2:22 pm

These individuals have rubbed their "business" success in everyone's face since day one. What a mockery of the entrepreneurial spirit. Probably helped kill some of their own friends with this nonsense. I hope the fentanyl connection puts them away.
Clothing shop. Phone-case-stop. Dronin' drugs. Hello-cop.

Up 42 Down 6

tire guy on Nov 20, 2020 at 2:15 pm

Mike... tire guys? What is wrong with tire guys? I don't see how changing and repairing tires makes you a criminal? It's good work!

Up 72 Down 8

Mike on Nov 20, 2020 at 11:55 am

Clothing stores, pawn shop, tire shops, these pieces of s#@t have never worked a day in their lives and because they will co operate with police they will be allowed to keep their businesses as if they were legitimate people and get 6 months in jail. Meantime every overdose and murder up here is tied directly to them and makes me sick. Where's the proceeds of crime seizures? These people should be left with nothing because that's what they've left their customers with,nothing. Taking everything and not caring. Fist full of cheese eating wanna be gangsters feeding off of the vulnerable people in the Yukon. Absolutely disgusting predators and now snitches to boot because guaranteed Levy and his crew won't go to the penitentiary, they'll get turned into drag queens by the real gangsters.

Up 64 Down 3

Business is good on Nov 20, 2020 at 11:47 am

So typical and common in other cities it shouldn't really come as a shocker. I mean the people charged are "business people". I guess business is good when you supplement your income from selling sneakers and cell phone accessories with coke, meth and fentanyl.
What a bunch of losers to poison their own neighbors.

Up 37 Down 11

Apex Parasite on Nov 20, 2020 at 10:54 am

This what happens when you live in a culture where the government goes above and beyond to protect you from yourself, unsavory elements are more than glad to step in and cater to our weaknesses with no judgement but plenty of opportunism.

Portugal's policies in this regard have had good results and is heartening to see some US states stepping up and recognizing you cannot win a war on drugs when in fact they are fighting a war people are fighting with themselves. Many elements here and a huge kettle of fish.

The government had a chance to make good with the recent end to the war on cannabis as a drug. Sadly they chose to try and capitalize on it by legalization rather than decriminalization and are finding they cannot compete in a market that has been there for many decades with good success and many, many happy customers who continue as they have for many many decades as the outlets provide substandard product at outlandish prices. I personally have used a govt outlet once and will not again unless I'm hard up, which is very, very seldom.

Wanna eliminate the gangsta lifestyle? Quit forcing people to go to gangsters.

Up 51 Down 6

Charles Bronson on Nov 20, 2020 at 10:07 am

Justice system needs to get tougher on these scum piles. Step up and do your jobs. Time to back up the police for a change and quit letting the drug dealing scum losers continue to destroy our communities. wtf!

Up 55 Down 4

Charles Bronson on Nov 20, 2020 at 6:26 am

Good job coppers. Now if the courts would just do their jobs all would be good in Yukon. But wait...our weak judges will have these losers back on the street to kill more Yukoners in no time.

Up 61 Down 5

marylaker on Nov 19, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Fantastic! The RCMP are doing a really great job these days. It is encouraging to see these parasites rounded up and exposed. I'm looking forward to learning which 'business on main street' was a front for drug dealing and money laundering.

Now the courts better do their job for a change and throw these fine people in jail where they belong.

Up 30 Down 13

My Opinion on Nov 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Nice they got them but this takes waaaay to long. They just continue to operate for years while investigation goes on. Then they are let loose to do it again.

Up 46 Down 9

Josey Wales on Nov 19, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Hey coppers...NOT merely a good job.
a completely outstanding effin job...coppers!

...now the kangaroo courts, soon engaging CCC 718.2(e) as per SOP

Up 48 Down 6

Jayne W on Nov 19, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Great work to the RCMP. I find a bit of irony to this article with the stolen goods, one of these upstanding family of Yukon, cried on FB when their place of business was broken into and then found out who did it and put them to work instead of charging them. I think the owner said trying to help before they get into more trouble.
So MANY people praising them for doing a good deed and trying to help the little thieves. Heck they just wanted to stay away from the RCMP themselves. The other place of business cries and posts on FB when someone steals something from their store on main street.....they are stealing stuff to help their addiction which YOU enable. The other guy likely told them to steal it anyways.

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