Surrey RCMP announce a “significant” drug seizure in Newton. Pictured are bins containing 227 kilos of phenacetin, a painkiller. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Crime

RCMP seize meth, drug-making equipment in large Lower Mainland drug bust

Surrey RCMP believes the ‘significant’ criminal enterprise has ties to the regional gang conflict

Surrey RCMP say they’ve made a “significant” drug seizure in Newton which they believe has damaged a “sophisticated” criminal enterprise.

“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars just for the methamphetamine itself,” Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko said at a press conference Thursday.

“To me it’s the human cost. What we have right here just in the methamphetamine, that could have potentially been on the streets today. Sixty thousand doses, sixty thousand people that can be harmed. Dollar value, of course it’s staggering, it’s a huge impact and we’re happy to make that impact on organized crime.

If these drugs had hit the street, Sturko said, “This could have had a huge impact on the Lower Mainland.”

Police did not reveal which gang, group or individuals they suspect to be connected to this but investigators believe the operation has ties to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.

“With its size and scope, it is also believed that this operation supplied drugs beyond Surrey’s borders,” Sturko said.

Nobody has been arrested. “This is active and ongoing,” Sturko said. “I can’t provide further information at this time.”

She said police seized six kilograms of methamphetamine – equivalent to 60,000 doses – when they executed search warrants on Nov. 29 on two different units at a storage units in the 7200-block of 132nd Street.

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Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko holding some of the methamphetamine seized. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

See also: Credit card fraud leads to seizure of guns, drugs in Cloverdale (Aug. 8, 2018)

See also: Surrey Mounties arrest nine and seize drugs, cash and a gun (July 10, 2018)

Sturko said they also seized 227 kilograms of phenacetin, “a pain killer used by drug traffickers as a cutting agent to make cocaine more profitable.”

“The quantity seized in this investigation was enough for traffickers to have produced approximately 4.5 million doses of street level cocaine,” she said. “Phenacetin, also known as ‘super buff,’ is very valuable in its present form and would be highly sought after by organized criminal groups.”

Sturko said police also found a large industrial pill press and other equipment associated to the “clandestine manufacturing of pharmaceutical look-a-likes.”

That seizure included dies for more than 100 individual types of tablets, according to Surrey RCMP.

“The pills that they’re producing, some of them are extremely potent,” Sturko said. “This is very dangerous.”

She said the equipment had the capacity to manufacture 160,000 pills per hour. “So that’s a lot of pills.”

Police also say preliminary tests of residue found on the manufacturing equipment were positive for fentanyl.

“Along with the pill manufacturing equipment, police also located approximately 20 kilograms of pill binding agent and other chemicals associated to clandestine pill production,” Sturko said.

“Over the past few years we have seen the effects of illicit drugs in our community,” said Superintendent Shawn Gill, Surrey RCMP Community Services Officer. “In making this seizure, we are reducing the potential for harm among our vulnerable people in the community and impacting the individuals who put the public at risk with their actions.”

See also: Surrey’s top cop says city ‘could be safer’ with more officers(Dec. 11, 2018)

See also: City of Surrey asks Vancouver for help with municipal policing transition (Dec. 12, 2018)



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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