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.

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.

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read