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Campers assaulted in Carcross desert

Two campers were badly beaten in the Carcross desert during the Victoria Day long weekend.On May 21, two Whitehorse men and their girlfriends were…

Two campers were badly beaten in the Carcross desert during the Victoria Day long weekend.

On May 21, two Whitehorse men and their girlfriends were approached by a group of 20 people who asked them for beer, said Cpl. Paul Zechel of the Carcross RCMP.

When they refused, the crowd left.

However two males, both from Teslin, returned a second and third time.

Both times they allegedly assaulted the campers.

The two men ended up in the hospital where they were treated for head injuries. One of the men had both his jaw and nose broken.

The RCMP has charged Aaron Smarch, of Teslin, with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of robbery and extortion.

A male youth, whose identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has also been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of robbery.

Carcross RCMP is treating the assault as an isolated incident.

The accused were from out of town and there haven’t been any problems in the local registered campgrounds, said Zechel.

There have been three break-ins in the village in the past month, said Murray Lundberg, a member of the community’s advisory council.

“It’s losers from out of town,” he said.

A meeting will be held to discuss the issue at Carcross community hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

“Once we get people to get their heads out of the sand, we’ll have a handle on it,” said Lundberg.

He expects that a Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods report will be filed to shut down a supposed crack house that he says has been operating since May.

So far the RCMP has heard no complaints from the community about the alleged crack house, said Zechel.

It can be difficult to implement the Safer Communities legislation in First Nations communities, said Justice spokesperson Dan Cable.

“The act targets landlords and works with them, and the First Nations are one of the territory’s biggest landlords.”

To ensure there isn’t any difficulty, the Yukon Justice department has signed a special communications protocol with the Carcross/Tagish First Nation.

This protocol allows SCAN to be implemented smoothly and the two groups to work cooperatively to deal with any problems that arise.

There are drug issues in Carcross just like any other community, said Carcross/Tagish First Nations Chief Mark Wedge.

“Of course, we don’t condone it but these things happen.

Youth programs have been organized to mitigate these occurrences, he said.

“Firemen never get thanked for the fires that they don’t put out.”

The First Nation’s executive council will discuss the issue, he added.

Lundberg said he believes that removing drug dealers from the community will prevent any future trouble.

“That’s the advantage of having a small town; the problem will be simple to solve.”

During the gold rush the RCMP could give troublemakers a “blue ticket” — a one-way trip out of town, he said.

“We have the laws in place; we just have to use them,” said Lundberg.

“Six months ago we had a great community; all of a sudden there’s these losers coming into town.

“We’ll be giving them that blue ticket, whether it’s legally or otherwise.”