Illegal drug activity sparks local emergency at Sitansisk

The chief and band council of a First Nation near Fredericton are declaring a local state of emergency over concerns about drug activity.

Sitansisk, also known as St. Mary’s First Nation, announced in a Facebook post late Monday drug activity is posing “escalating risks” to the area.

That drug activity, the band council said, endangers the safety and wellbeing of citizens, particularly youth.

“In response, we are declaring a state of emergency to access additional resources through provincial and federal programs,” reads the post.

It comes after a first responders were called to Sitansisk early Sunday evening for a report of a “disturbance.”

According to reporting by the Fredericton Independent, a large crowd gathered in an area that required immediate containment by police.

“Officers … managed the crowd of hundreds and arrested one male suspect on suspicion of an assault with a weapon,” police told the Fredericton Independent.

Allan Polchies, chief of Sitansisk, said in a statement the situation stemmed from illegal drug activity, and called for action.

“The battle against drugs is one which demands unity and a collective commitment to safety,” the statement reads.

“We cannot afford to be complacent or indifferent in the face of this threat.”

Sitansisk said law enforcement will be patrolling more areas of the community over the next few days.

Residents, however, are being encouraged to their part by staying inside, keeping kids at home and avoiding gatherings.

Fredericton police issued a statement on Tuesday, confirming the suspect has been charged for charge of assault with a weapon.

Police also called the safety of Sitansisk “always a priority.”

“We meet regularly with Sitansisk Chief and Council and have met specifically about the recent incidents in the area and are committed to supporting them,” reads the statement.

“We achieve this through compassionate and effective policing, and by working cooperatively with Chief and Council.”

Police said they arrested another person on a charge for breach of the peace.

“Both incidents remain under investigation.”

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