Edmonton airport official unaware of claims of organized crime infiltration

Oct. 1, 2008
Claims of organized crime in airport made by Canadian senator Colin Kenny

Officials have been caught off-guard by accusations that gangs are operating at Edmonton International Airport.

Liberal senator Colin Kenny told Sun Media on Friday that gangs, including the Hells Angels, have infiltrated the airports in Edmonton and Calgary.

"Obviously it's concerning when we hear these allegations," said Jim Rudolph, corporate communications manager for the Edmonton International Airport. "If these allegations are true, we'll do whatever we can ... to investigate."

Kenny, who is president of the Senate committee on national security and defence told Sun Media police report there are Hells Angels and two Asian groups at the airports in Edmonton and Calgary.

"(Airports) don't have adequate security. They have been letting this go on for years ... It's pretty dumb."

He offered no specifics.

"I don't recall any such incidents," said Rudolph, noting he has worked at the airport for three years. "It's possible I just haven't been told."

Coun. Bryan Anderson, chairman of Edmonton's transportation and public works committee, said safety and security at the airport have never been formally discussed at City Hall.

"I've never heard that kind of concern raised," he said.

Anderson said there's nothing City Hall can do to address potential problems.

"We do not control airport operations in any way, shape or form," he said. "As I would say to a citizen who brought in a complaint ... I will pass word onto (appropriate authorities) instead of talking about general hearsay."

Rudolph said he has confidence in the RCMP and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Together, the groups handle airport security for all airport employees.

All employees with access to secure areas must have a Restricted Area Identification Card, or RAIC, said Rudolph. Anyone entering a secured area must scan either fingers or eyes for doors to unlock.

To get an RAIC, employees must supply a five-year verifiable employment and education background. Their names are also run through RCMP, CSIS and Citizenship and Immigration databases. The passes are renewed about once every two years, said Rudolph.

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