RCMP in Thompson, Manitoba discovered a large shipment of cannabis, alcohol, Oxycodone and Alprazolam in a shipment of Kraft Dinner boxes and a box of baby formula being sent to Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation on April 15.
The Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation is based in Nelson House, Manitoba, about 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg and 80 kilometres west of Thompson.
Police say they seized the package after they “became aware” of a shipment of drugs headed to the First Nation community. Upon searching the package, they found 480 grams of illicit dried cannabis (just over 1 pound), along with alcohol hidden inside baby formula containers and Oxycodone and Alprazolam pills in the box that held the baby formula. The police report does not say what alerted them to the shipment.
A further investigation led police to a residence on Martin Bay in Thompson. Early the following morning police raided the residence and discovered another 694 grams of “illicit cannabis” as well as drug trafficking paraphernalia.
The police report does not explain how they determined the 694 grams of cannabis found at the home was considered illicit. In Manitoba there is no limit on the amount of cannabis a person can possess in private. There is a federal limit of 30 grams in public. Federal law allows the sharing of up to 30 grams of cannabis at a time, which is also the limit that can be mailed legally in Canada.
Shipments of drugs and alcohol to remote First Nations communities is an ongoing issue in Canada, especially in the north. In 2019, the Nisichawayasihk community passed a law that requires all community members and visitors transporting alcohol and cannabis into or within the northern Manitoba community to carry a permit.
Three individuals were arrested and charged. Mac Labelle, 45, Tina Spence, 31, and Derek Vivier, 46, all of Thompson, are charged with multiple offences, including Trafficking x2, Distribution of Illicit Cannabis, Possession of Cannabis for the Purpose of Selling, and Unauthorized Sale of Liquor. One female was arrested and released without charge.
All of the suspects have been released pending a court date.