A months-long investigation conducted jointly by Victoria Police and Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC) has resulted in the arrest of three men and the seizure of $30 million of drugs, weapons, and cash.
In a statement released Wednesday, VicPD says their Strike Force team identified an organized crime group trafficking high concentration fentanyl in Victoria back in June.
During the investigation, police found that the same group was trafficking fentanyl on the Lower Mainland, which is where the fentanyl supply chain for this group was based.
In August, a joint investigation between Victoria Police and CFSEU-BC’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force was launched, targeting suspects in Victoria and on the Lower Mainland.
Four search warrants were executed in Victoria on November 17, targeting three separate residential locations and one vehicle.
The sites included an apartment suite in the 500-block of Fisgard Avenue, one in the 700-block of Fairfield Road, and a suite in the 1000-block of View Street.
One suspect was arrested at the Fairfield location, while another was taken into custody after he was found in a vehicle in the 900-block of Yates Street. Police say no one was injured during these arrests.
Meanwhile, investigators on the mainland arrested one man connected to this trafficking ring.
Drugs, cash, weapons seized
In Victoria, a search of the locations where search warrants were executed yielded over one kilogram of cocaine, over two kilograms of high-concentration fentanyl, over two kilograms of methamphetamine, and evidence of drug re-purposing and packaging for a trafficking operation, including over six kilograms of cutting agents.
Police also found $50,000 in cash and a replica assault rifle.
On the Lower Mainland, investigators found a kilogram of MDMA, two kilograms of methamphetamine, over ten kilograms of high-concentration fentanyl, and evidence of drug re-purposing and packaging for a trafficking operation, including over one hundred kilograms of cutting agents.
Officers also seized a kilogram of sildenafil (Viagra), a substantial amount of bulk currency currently totalling $335,390, and three luxury vehicles.
CFSEU-BC officers also seized two sets of body armour, two carbine-style assault rifles, three shotguns, and seven pistols accompanied by a pistol suppressor or “silencer”, along with approximately 1,000 rounds of various calibres of ammunition. They also seized a variety of false identification documents.
Another search warrant was executed at a storage unit in Coquitlam on December 11 in relation to this same group. There, police found two more sets of body armour as well as eight firearms with three suppressors, and multiple magazines and various types of ammunition.
All in all, 20 firearms were seized during this investigation, several of which were modified to be fully automatic and many of which had serial numbers removed.
High concentration fentanyl
A Health Canada analysis of the fentanyl seized by police has revealed that the drugs were high concentration, ranging between 88 to 90 per cent fentanyl.
The drugs that were prepared for distribution and involved cutting ages still contained 13 per cent fentanyl concentration which can be fatal. Police say typical street level drugs contain three to five per cent fentanyl.
“When we talk about the scope of this project, this is the top of the fentanyl trafficking pyramid in British Columbia,” said VicPD Chief Del Manak in a statement.
“The provincial opioid crisis continues to affect people from all walks of life, across all socio-economic groups. It reaches into our high schools and our homes. The tremendous outcome of this joint project is just one step in the targeted enforcement of drug traffickers harming our communities.”
The over 12 kilograms of high concentration fentanyl seized over the course of this investigation could amount to 3,965,000 lethal doses, police say.
The investigation into this trafficking group and others remain ongoing.