Pelican Narrows checkpoint, RCMP shut down suspected bootleggers

RCMP and workers at a community checkpoint in Pelican Narrows spelled doom for a trio of suspected bootleggers May 21, caught allegedly trying to transport more than 30 litres of alcohol into town.

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) security workers near the community were told someone referred by RCMP in a news release as "a known bootlegger" would be travelling into Pelican Narrows to transport alcohol. The checkpoint covers the only road in or out of Pelican Narrows and has been used to restrict access to the community from outside residents. RCMP were notified by checkpoint workers that the suspected bootlegger would be stopped on sight and searched.

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Later in the day, a vehicle was stopped at the checkpoint by security workers and found to have around 34 litres of alcohol inside, including whisky, vodka and several bottles containing whisky cut with water. Alcohol was found in a series of plastic water bottles, with some bottles hidden inside socks and within different parts of the vehicle.

Three people - two adult males and a female - were charged under section 138(1) of the Saskatchewan Alcohol and Gaming Regulations Act.  The relevant section of the act states that no person in Saskatchewan, unless covered by the Act or by other provincial regulations including liquor licensing, can display, keep or either directly or indirectly offer to sell beverage alcohol.

All three people charged are from Pelican Narrows. Court dates or identities of the three have not been released.

"The leadership of PBCN has determined that the illegal distribution of alcohol is a serious health risk within the community during the current Public Health Order and a priority for the security patrols to assist in reducing illegal alcohol in the community," according to an RCMP news release issued May 27.

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