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Estevan to have an office for Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team

Police unit will fight drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking
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A new police team, with an office in Estevan, will target gang-related criminal activity from entering the province.

REGINA - Estevan will be one of the locations in the province for a new police team that will target gang-related criminal activity entering the province through trafficking corridors.

The provincial government recently introduced a new policing initiative, the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT), which is a specialized intelligence-led enforcement team dedicated to addressing illegal weapons, drugs and human trafficking.

"The criminal activity that threatens public safety is oftentimes tied to the evolution of organized street gangs," Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. "The STRT (pronounced "START") will investigate illegal weapons, dangerous substances, and human trafficking entering the province through trafficking corridors to ensure the safety of our province."

The STRT will be comprised of 30 RCMP officers, six municipal police officers, two criminal analysts, and three support staff, for a total of 41 new permanent positions.

STRT will also have offices in Lloydminster and Swift Current.

These locations were chosen based on their proximity to provincial boundaries and established trafficking corridors. Municipal STRT resources will be located in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

The team will be mobile and ready to deploy anywhere in the province to support other RCMP units and detachments, municipal police services, and intelligence and enforcement teams, in Saskatchewan as well as in Alberta and Manitoba. It will conduct intelligence operations and enforce laws specific to drugs, illegal weapons and human trafficking.

This initiative will cost $2.1 million for 2021-22 and approximately $6.4 million annually in each subsequent fiscal year. The provincial government says this is entirely new funding; no resources have been reallocated from other policing initiatives.

No further details, such as the number of officers for the Estevan office, were immediately available. 

Next week's edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.