Mounties say they have shut down a drug ‘superlab’ in B.C., resulting in the seizure of 27 million doses of potentially lethal fentanyl and three men being charged.
Officers executed two search warrants in Abbotsford and Surrey on Jan. 14.
“Access and availability to toxic drugs is a primary factor in many deaths,” said Supt. Bert Ferreira of the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Border Integrity Program. “We are unequivocally committed to preventing toxic opioids from destroying more lives, causing more grief, and threatening the future of our nation.”
The searches uncovered a drug super lab at the Abbotsford location. Police say there was evidence of a synthetic drug operation producing fentanyl, MDMA (ecstasy) and cannabis extracts. The site also contained a mobile fentanyl lab and two boxed drug labs.
The term ‘superlab’ is used to describe large-scale, sophisticated clandestine drug labs with the capability of producing sizable quantities of illicit drugs, that are also often tied to organized crime.
The investigation dates to August 2021 and has resulted in the seizure of approximately 16 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, four kilograms of pure fentanyl, more than 317 kilograms of marijuana bud and about $20,000 in cash. A cache of precursor chemicals for fentanyl production was also found.
In assessing the seized bulk chemicals, Health Canada concluded the precursor chemicals could have produced an additional 50 kilograms of pure fentanyl.
Kevin Gonzales, Jemroi Ibarra and Duc Phung have been charged with multiple drug-related offences.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration report said just two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage.
“Therefore, the pure fentanyl seized during this investigation could have amounted to over 27 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl,” police said.
Across Canada, police said, there are about 20 deaths per day due to tainted drugs; about 76 per cent involve fentanyl.
B.C. accounts for more than one quarter of the national daily death rate.
As of November, reported the BC Corners Service, preliminary data indicated illicit fentanyl was detected alone or in combination with other drugs in approximately 82 per cent of 2022 deaths and 86 per cent in 2021.
“These drugs come from unsanctioned, uncontrolled, and profit driven facilities. Out of the thousands of loved ones lost to the toxic drug supply, it seems especially tragic that many of the perished have been young Canadians who would have otherwise had their entire lives ahead of them,” Ferreira said.