"vulnerable youths were being targeted, exploited"
A father and son have been charged for allegedly sexually exploiting teenage girls at their businesses over the course of several months.
They are also accused of giving them alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
The Calgary Police Service launched an investigation in April 2023 after a missing 13-year-old girl was found.
The teenage girl told officers that she was in a relationship with 24-year-old Sumrit Walia.
She said Walia gave her alcohol, drugs and vapes in exchange for sex.
Police learned that Walia and his 56-year-old father Gurpartap Singh Walia own and operate Haddon Convenience Store, located at 208 Haddon Road SW.
They also own Premier Liquor Wine and Spirits, located next door to the convenience store, where the assaults occurred.
The investigation determined that the father and son were providing vapes, marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol to multiple other teenage girls, who were sexually assaulted at the businesses.
It is believed that the incidents took place between December 2022 and May 2023.
The victims, who are all under the age of 16, were not legally able to consent to a sexual encounter due to their age.
On June 1, 2023, the father and son were arrested.
Police searched a home in the 100 block of Panamount Close NW.
Officers discovered 975g of cocaine with an estimated street value of $97,500 and seven handguns.
Search warrants were also executed at the two businesses, which resulted in the seizure of a computer with child pornography, drugs and drug paraphernalia, contraband tobacco, vape cartridges and collapsible batons.
Sumrit Walai was charged with:
- Sexual interference with a minor
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual assault
- Possession of child pornography
- Accessing child pornography
- Creating child pornography
- Seven counts of unlawful possession of a firearm
- Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking
- Three counts of uttering threats
- Selling contraband tobacco to youth
- Breach of a court order
He appeared in court on June 2, 2023.
Gurpartap Singh Walia was charged with:
- Four counts of sexual assault
- Four counts of sexual interference with a minor
- Selling contraband tobacco
He is set to appear in court on June 22, 2023.
The victims are being supported by the Luna Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.
Staff Sergeant Darren Smith, of the Calgary Police Service Child Abuse Unit, said:
“These are incredibly serious charges, where vulnerable youths were being targeted, exploited and forced to enter a dangerous lifestyle.
“Thankfully, with the support of Alberta Health Services, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission, and The City of Calgary, we have been able to stop the continued exploitation of these young girls, and with our partners at the Luna Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, will be able to support the victims moving forward.”