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Dawson City drug bust could be biggest in Yukon history, RCMP say

RCMP say they seized a number of items in a bust last week, including handguns, a shotgun, over 10 kg of 'what is believed to be cocaine,' as well as other drugs in smaller quantities. (Meribeth Deen/CBC - image credit)
RCMP say they seized a number of items in a bust last week, including handguns, a shotgun, over 10 kg of 'what is believed to be cocaine,' as well as other drugs in smaller quantities. (Meribeth Deen/CBC - image credit)

Yukon RCMP say a "complex investigation" led to two search warrants executed in Dawson City on March 6, and those searches led to the largest seizure of what they believe to be cocaine in the territory's history.

At a news conference in Whitehorse this week, RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said the investigation started after what they dubbed Project Monterey, which concluded in June 2022.

That earlier investigation led to the arrest of Taylor Duke and the seizure of weapons and drugs outside of Whitehorse in August 2023.

Sheppard said investigators learned that Duke and a group of associates continued to traffic drugs despite previous arrests and charges.

Tyler Taylor, one of the alleged associates, was arrested at one of the homes that the RCMP searched on March 6. At the time, he was under house arrest and was subject to monitoring through a GPS ankle bracelet.

Sheppard said RCMP seized a number of items from the searched homes, including three handguns, a 12-gauge pump action shotgun, over 10 kg of "what is believed to be cocaine," as well as other drugs in smaller quantities.

Police also seized bundles of cash amounting to approximately $522,000.

Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, right, at a news conference in Whitehorse in March 2024.
Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, right, at a news conference in Whitehorse in March 2024.

Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard, right, said the quantity of drugs seized 'would have a significant impact on the communities especially around the Dawson area.' (Meribeth Deen/CBC)

Sheppard said the drugs are currently under analysis, and did not offer an estimate of their street value.

"I can tell you in terms of the amount of drugs seized, it would have a significant impact on the communities especially around the Dawson area and we believe in many of the villages and communities in and around northern Yukon," Sheppard said.

On March 7, Taylor Duke was arrested at Whitehorse Correctional Centre, for his alleged connection.

Both Duke and Taylor face charges including participation in activities for a criminal organization.

They were expected to appear in court on Thursday.

'Certainly distressing,' says Dawson mayor

Dawson City Mayor Bill Kendrick said that any time dangerous drugs can be removed from the street is a "good day."

"Dawson has been fortunate to not be ridden with all of the overdose deaths that have occurred in other Yukon communities," he said.

Kendrick said the quantity of drugs seized is "certainly distressing" and emphasized that those living with addictions need support.

"Treatment for these very addictive drugs is so important and I certainly hope that the territory is putting adequate resources towards treatment," he said.