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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:14 am 
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CALGARY (CP) - Alberta's elite group of organized crime busters has wiped 213,000 tablets of ecstasy off the streets in a record raid.

A Calgary man was arrested after a bust at a home in the city's northeast in June, police said Wednesday. The raid capped an eight-month investigation dubbed Project Intrigue, an ongoing probe that began after it was learned a huge drug shipment was coming from Vancouver.

"If this ecstasy was purchased on the street or at a rave, it goes for approximately $20 a pill, which would bring it up to $4.26 million," said Staff Sgt. Barry Balerud.

He said the ecstasy seizure is the largest in Alberta history and one of the the largest in Canada.

"It demonstrates how an investigation team properly funded and properly resourced can effectively combat organized crime," Insp. Al Sauve of the Integrated Response to Organized Crime Unit said as officers displayed the drugs seized.

Police expressed concern that traffickers had laced the tablets with methamphetamine, making the drugs even more addictive.

Ecstasy is viewed as a particular problem because about 75 per cent of tablets on the street are mixed with some other drug, Det. Nina Vaughan of Calgary's drug squad said.

"Ecstasy is kind of like a garbage can of drugs," said Vaughan, who added the vastly different cocktails can make taking ecstasy a game of Russian roulette.

"Really kids have no idea what they're taking or what dose they're taking," she said. "You can't tell from the size of the pill how much of the drug is actually in it. They could take one or two pills one night and not have any reaction, and take a couple pills the next weekend and die from it.

"It's really a dangerous game to play."

Investigators don't know where the drugs were bound, but said it's doubtful a shipment of that size was destined for only Calgary streets.

Police did not explain why the seizure wasn't announced until Wednesday other than to say disclosing the bust earlier would have hampered the investigation.

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