The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. Police in the Northwest Territories are warning residents not to take justice into their own hands after they say a group of people in Fort McPherson assaulted two men suspected of drug trafficking and stealing a vehicle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. Police in the Northwest Territories are warning residents not to take justice into their own hands after they say a group of people in Fort McPherson assaulted two men suspected of drug trafficking and stealing a vehicle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

RCMP warn against vigilante justice after assaults in Northwest Territories

Insp. Yannick Hamel says people involved in vigilante justice can put themselves and others at risk

Police in the Northwest Territories are warning residents not to take justice into their own hands after a group assaulted two men suspected of drug trafficking and stealing a vehicle in Fort McPherson.

RCMP say they found a truck early Wednesday (June 21) that had been reported stolen, but it refused to stop and sped away.

Later that day, police say a group of residents swarmed two men just outside the community and assaulted them, resulting in injuries.

Insp. Yannick Hamel says people involved in vigilante justice can put themselves and others at risk, impede investigations and face arrest.

RCMP say during they investigation they recovered 43 bags of what is suspected to be crack cocaine and $2,230 from the truck.

Nuno De Sousa and Zachary Sullivan from British Columbia face several charges.

They are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds obtained by crime, theft of a truck, dangerous operations, flight from a police officer, mischief over $5,000 and failure to comply.

Earlier this week, CBC reported that a group of people in Aklavik, N.W.T., demonstrated outside the home of someone suspected of dealing illicit drugs.

“We understand the frustrations being voiced,” Hamel, the officer in charge of the RCMP’s north district, said in a statement.

“We know people in our communities want to feel safe. No one, however, can operate outside the law to confront those that are believed to be breaking it.”

Hamel added that police investigations are complex and can take time.

“While the public may want faster outcomes, we cannot circumvent our responsibilities under the law,” Hamel said.

He encouraged members of the public to report crime and suspicious behaviour to their local RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers.

The Canadian Press

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