Charges have been dropped against a group of 11 people who were the first to be charged under the Saskatchewan Public Health Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were arrested March 27, 2020, and charged with breaking the Saskatchewan Public Health Order that says no more than 10 people can gather at one time without maintaining a two-meter distance. The 11 charged included Cherokee Cantre, 27, of Makwa Sahgaiechan First Nation, Montana Horse, 22, of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, Bianca Lasas, 21, of Lloydminster, Megan Lewis, 23, of Onion Lake Cree Nation, Lucas Oakes, 24, of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, Dedrick Stick, 30, of Lloydminster, Jasmine Wahpistikwan, 23, from Big Island Lake Cree Territory, Francis Waterhen, 26, from Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, Loewen Wolfe, 31, of Onion Lake Cree Nation, Lorrin Wolfe, 30, of Onion Lake Cree Nation, and a young offender who can’t be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

All the co-accused made appearances throughout 2020 with the charges against the remaining person dropped at the end of 2020.

The 11 were arrested and charged when Loon Lake RCMP responded to a report at about 1:30 a.m. March 27, 2020, of a suspicious person knocking on the door of a residence in Loon Lake. RCMP say they got a description of the vehicle and it was a stolen black 2000 GMC Yukon SUV. They notified nearby detachments to be on the lookout for the SUV and Meadow Lake RCMP found the vehicle travelling north on a dirt road. Both Loon Lake and Pierceland RCMP assisted Meadow Lake RCMP with the pursuit. RCMP tried stopping the vehicle but it sped away and police say the occupants started throwing items out of the windows. Police picked up one of the bags thrown out, which contained several firearms. They pursued the vehicle onto Highway 55 and say that at different times, several occupants of the SUV jumped out of the vehicle while it was driving. They were all picked up one by one by police and arrested.

The police chase continued on a dirt road where the driver of the SUV eventually lost control and hit the ditch. Some passengers fled into a bush but were located and arrested. Meadow Lake RCMP Police Service dog tracked one and two were arrested at the vehicle.

Police recovered firearms, narcotics and stolen property.