RCMP in British Columbia say they’ve disrupted major organized crime groups that are flooding the streets with toxic drugs in two separate investigations involving “transnational” drug production and distribution operations.
Police in Surrey, B.C., announced the seizure of a “massive cache” of precursor chemicals used to make the powerful opioid fentanyl and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
Police say they executed several search warrants in late February across Metro Vancouver, leading to the arrests of a man and woman and the seizure of the chemicals in addition to luxury cars, electronics, watches and dried cannabis.
Police say the chemicals could have made 262 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, and three million doses of MDMA.
A second investigation involved an organized crime operation that made and distributed opioids and was dismantled on March 1 by multiple agencies using 11 search warrants across Metro Vancouver.
In a news release, RCMP said officers seized a “significantly advanced pill pressing operation” capable of making about 60,000 pills per hour when in full operation.
They also seized various types of finished pills and pressed tablets, three firearms, cash, electronic devices, significant quantities of precursor chemicals, and multi-kilograms of other illicit substances.
Police say four people were arrested in that investigation, including one who is believed to be involved in the region’s “ongoing” violent gang war.
The names of those arrested in either case won’t be released until charges are laid, but police say both operations resulted in the prevention of “millions” of potentially lethal doses of drugs from fuelling the toxic drug crisis.
“The vast majority of illicit substances are distributed by organized crime groups who really don’t have their clients’ best interests at heart,” Staff Sgt. Kris Clark told CBC News.
“So with both of these files, seizing these significant quantities, there’s a major disruption to their operations and a hit to their bottom line essentially.”
Illicit fentanyl, alone or in combination with other drugs, accounted for about 82 per cent of toxic drug deaths in B.C. in 2022, according to provincial data. At least 2,272 British Columbians lost their lives to toxic drugs last year.
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