RCMP says ‘Project Midas’ results in 27 charges against two suspects

 Police allege a suspect vehicle contained this loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol, quantities of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, stolen property, and more. ECA Review/Submitted
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On Dec. 14, 2023, multiple RCMP Detachments and RCMP support units jointly executed a search warrant and arrested fleeing suspects at the conclusion of a one-month investigation.

On Nov. 15, 2023,  Hanna RCMP responded to, and investigated, a report of a break and enter to a residence located southeast of Hanna in a rural area. The investigation found that a silver 2010 Dodge 3500 pickup, numerous firearms, a safe, numerous valuable collector coins, and a variety of other items were stolen.

On Nov. 16, 2023, Drumheller RCMP members responded to reports of an abandoned pickup truck destroyed by fire in a secluded rural area near Rowley, Alta. Investigators found that the burned truck was the truck stolen in the break and enter. Several stolen items, including the stolen firearms, were not recovered.

As a result of the above, Drumheller RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS), along with Drumheller and Hanna General Duty officers, engaged into an in-depth investigation referred to as Project Midas.

On Dec. 14, 2023, RCMP Detachment members from Drumheller, Hanna, Drumheller GIS, Alberta RCMP Emergency Response Team, Southern Alberta Crime Reduction Unit, and other support units, executed a search warrant at a rural residence near Michichi, Alta. The search warrant resulted in a female being taken into custody (not charged) and the seizure of stolen property and evidence including air pistols and rifles.

At the same time, an associated suspect vehicle was encountered near Erskine, Alta., resulting in the deployment of additional police resources including Three Hills RCMP and Police Dog  Services.

Eventually, a vehicle stop was attempted in a rural area near Delburne, Alta., however, the vehicle fled from multiple police vehicles.  As part of the operation, tactics were used forcing the vehicle to a stop. A female suspect was taken into custody and the second suspect fled on foot.  A search of the area, including by RCMP Police Dog Services, resulted in the apprehension of the second suspect. The suspect vehicle contained a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol, quantities of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, stolen property, and more.

As a result of this operation, 33-year-old Justin Lenfesty, a resident of Drumheller, and 30-year-old Kali Miller of no fixed address, were jointly charged with: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine, Possess Prohibited Weapon, Possess Firearm without Licence, Possess Prohibited or Restricted Firearm in Vehicle, Possess a Loaded Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Accessible Ammunition, Possess a Stolen Prohibited or Stolen Weapon, Fail to Stop for Peace Officer, Possession of Stolen Property Under $5000 x 5, Possession of Stolen Property Over $5000 and Traffic Stolen Property x 2.

Furthermore, Lenfesty was charged with Drive Uninsured Motor Vehicle, Operate Motor Vehicle without valid Registration, Drive Unauthorized and Traffic stolen property.

Miller was further charged with Fail to comply with a Release Order Condition and was arrested on seven outstanding arrest warrants for Flight from Police, Possession of Stolen Property Under $5000 x 2, Intent to Avoid Arrest, Obstruction of a Peace Officer, Possession of Stolen Credit Card and Possess/Sell Contraband Tobacco.

As a result of Judicial Interim Release Hearings, both Lenfesty and Miller were remanded into custody and are scheduled to appear in the Alberta Court of Justice in Strathmore on Dec. 19, 2023.

Detachment Commander, S/Sgt. Robert HARMS, stated “This was an in depth investigation involving several RCMP Detachments and Specialized Units.  The involved members once again demonstrated investigational excellence resulting in recovered stolen property, weapons removed off the streets, and offenders held accountable .”If you have any information regarding criminal activity, call 911, or contact your local Police Service.  If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

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