Three people have been charged after Edmonton Police Service (EPS) uncovered a drug and catalytic converter trafficking operation at an Edmonton scrap yard.

Back in the summer of 2022, police began investigating A1 Scrap Metal Recycling Ltd. Police say they noticed drug deals happening in the scrap yard, as well as spotting unknown people bringing in catalytic converters.

At the end of November, police searched the business and another residence, where they found the following:

  • More than 1400 grams of fentanyl, worth approximately $285,000.
  • More than 2000 grams of cocaine, worth approximately $180,000.
  • An unlawfully owned loaded handgun.
  • An illegal magazine that contained 9 mm rounds.
  • More than 700 catalytic converters with a replacement value of approximately $1.4-million
  • Approximately $9,800 in Canadian currency.

Tekie Awte, 27, Meron Okbamichael, 28, and Simon Okbamichael, 26, have all been arrested and charged with eight drug and firearms-related charges.

On January 5, police charged Awte and A1 Scrap Metal Recycling Ltd with other offences:

  • Failure to obtain and record information respecting the transaction.
  • Failure to provide prescribed information collected within the time prescribed.
  • Failure to use traceable currency to purchase scrap metal.

Fines for violations of the Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Identification Act include up to $20,000 for individuals and $200,000 for businesses.