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Arrest made, drugs seized after suspected overdose death in Echo Bay (3 photos)

OPP executed a search warrant in three different locations in Sault Ste. Marie late Wednesday, arresting and charging a man with multiple drug offences.

The arrest comes after OPP were called to the scene of an Echo Bay residence Feb. 2, where police found one deceased person and a second person who was in obvious distress.

It is suspected the persons involved had recently consumed illicit drugs that were purchased in the Sault Ste. Marie area.

“We had some concerns that there were illicit drugs in the community being circulated that may have been adulterated with opiates. This is a disturbing trend that we have seen around the province and we are investigating this case as potentially being one of those,” said OPP Detective Inspector Matt Watson, speaking to SooToday.

“We arrested a 33-year-old man, Stephen Ward, and we have charged him with a total of 25 offences, drug offences, trafficking, firearms and some breach of judicial orders, release conditions,” Watson said.

“In addition to the arrest, we made seizures of a large quantity of drugs, cash and an illegally modified shotgun.”

Ward appeared in court in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday morning.

“People shouldn’t do drugs, period, but we know that they do. My concern is that people may be purchasing an illicit drug and they’ll get more than they bargained for and it can have potentially lethal results,” Watson said. 

The following is full text of a news release issued today by the Ontario Provincial Police:

On Feb. 2, 2020, members from the Sault Ste. Marie Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Algoma Ambulance Service responded to a residence in Echo Bay regarding two persons in distress.

Officers arrived at the scene and located a 41-year-old person deceased inside the residence. As a result, an investigation was initiated by members of the Sault Ste. Marie Crime Unit under the direction of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).

On Feb. 12, 2020 members from the Sault Ste. Marie Crime Unit, North East Region Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU) and CIB executed a search warrant on three separate locations within the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

As a result of the death investigation and the search warrant, Stephen Ward, 33 years old, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. has been arrested and charged with the following:

  • Possession of a schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking - cocaine, contrary to section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) - four counts;
  • Possession of a schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking - other drug, contrary to section 5(2) of the CDSA - three counts;
  • Possession of a schedule I substance - methamphetamine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA - two counts;
  • Possession of a schedule I substance for the purpose of trafficking - cocaine, contrary to section 5(2) of the CDSA;
  • Fail to comply with probation order, contrary to section 733.1(1) of the Criminal Code (CC) - two counts;
  • Possession of a schedule I substance - cocaine, contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA;
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5000 - in Canada, contrary to section 354(1)(a) of the CC - two counts;
  • Fail to comply with recognizance, contrary to section 145(3) of the CC - three counts;
  • Possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to a probation order, contrary to section 117.01(1) of the CC;
  • Possession of a Schedule I substance - Opioid (other than heroine), contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA - two counts;
  • Possession of property obtained by crime under $5000 - in Canada, contrary to section 354(1)(a) of the CC;
  • Possession of a schedule I substance - methylenedioxyamphetamine (ecstasy), contrary to section 4(1) of the CDSA;
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm, contrary to section 91(1) of the CC; and,
  • Breach of firearms regulation - store firearm or restricted weapon, contrary to section 86(2) of the CC.

Officers seized quantities of suspected cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and fentanyl. Officers also seized approximately $7,100 in Canadian and American currency.

The accused appeared at the Ontario Court of Justice for a bail hearing on Feb. 13, 2020 in Sault Ste. Marie and was remanded into custody.