Police raids net deadly drug fentanyl

Ten arrested, nearly 700,000 pills seized in Metro Vancouver

A small portion of the drugs and other items seized by VPD and RCMP officers Feb. 17.

Police have charged 10 suspects and seized a huge amount of the synthetic drug fentanyl that’s been blamed in dozens of overdose deaths in B.C. last year.

The coordinated raids on Feb. 17 in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver and Richmond yielded 29,000 fentanyl pills, 650,000 yet-to-be-identified pills suspected to contain either fentanyl or Alprazolam, a pill press, seven vehicles, $215,000 in cash, four guns, 16 kilograms of crack or powdered cocaine and varying amounts of other drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin.

RELATED:Surge in fentanyl overdose deaths sparks warning

The joint Vancouver Police-RCMP operation dubbed Project Tainted began last October as alarm grew about unprecedented numbers of overdose deaths from drugs laced with fentanyl, which is a highly toxic opioid painkiller.

“The goal of this project was to target those who were peddling poison in our communities, and to disrupt the local supply of fentanyl-laced drugs that were being distributed throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond,” said RCMP Chief Supt. Kevin deBruyckere.

Police said one of their primary targets in the investigation was a suspect tied to a recent shooting in south Burnaby. Maksym Pefti, 22, of Burnaby, has been arrested on charges of attempted murder and trafficking, while nine others face trafficking charges.

VPD Supt. Mike Porteous called the seizures and arrests a “significant blow” to the local distributors of the deadly drug.

Police believe fentanyl came here from Asia in powdered form before being cut with other powder and pressed into pills in Metro Vancouver and then distributed throughout the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in B.C.

“The tendrils extended from Vancouver and Burnaby into the rest of the Lower Mainland and beyond,” deBruyckere said.

Officers say pills turning up on the streets are often sold as OxyContin but in fact contain fentanyl, while other drugs – even marijuana – have also been found laced with fentanyl.

An estimated 75 overdose deaths in B.C. last year have been tied to fentanyl, with the largest numbers of deaths occurring in Vancouver, Langley and Surrey.

Casual party drug users who take pills or snort or smoke drugs are considered most at risk, rather than the injection drug users who are more often associated with overdoses.

Fentanyl accounted for 25 per cent of overdose deaths last year, up from five per cent in 2012.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Chilliwack physiotherapist charged with sexual assault

Mounties urging other potential victims to make contact

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read