8 arrested as ‘sophisticated’ criminal network dismantled in B.C.

Click to play video: 'RCMP announce they have dismantled an organized crime group'
RCMP announce they have dismantled an organized crime group
Police say the 8 men arrested are associated with organized crime and were producing huge quantities of fentanyl-tainted pills. Emily Lazatin reports. – Feb 23, 2024

A major operation and investigation into a B.C. organized crime group has resulted in the arrest of eight men and the seizure of a large amount of drugs.

An announcement was held in Surrey by officers with the BC RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime (FSOC) unit.

FSOC Cpl. Arash Seyed said the investigation began in September 2022 and ended up spanning across the cities of Abbotsford, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, and Surrey.

Click to play video: 'Feds put more money into gang prevention'
Feds put more money into gang prevention

The group has been allegedly running a mass production operation of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs.

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“As a result of the investigation, the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program has dismantled a significant, sophisticated criminal organization, and has (stopped) the distribution of these lethal drugs into our communities,” Chief Superintendent David Tebou said.

“We have successfully kept millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs from reaching our communities and have disrupted the ongoing violent B.C. gang conflict that has been jeopardizing the safety of British Columbians.”

BC RCMP’s Federal Serious Crime unit has seized a large amount of drugs. Global News

Over the last 48 hours, RCMP, Abbotsford police and B.C. homicide investigators arrested the eight men, some of whom are identified to be organized crime associates, in connection with the massive multi-jurisdictional investigation. Three were arrested in Abbotsford and the remaining five were arrested in Metro Vancouver.

Police said the main suspects of this investigation are Michael Manpreet Johal, Richard Sen, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, Michael David Rast, and Kevin Moebes. RCMP did not name the other three suspects. During the drug investigation, police became aware that one of the suspects was allegedly involved in a gang-related murder plot.

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In addition to drug and weapons charges, Michael Johal has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Large amounts of fentanyl, MDMA, and carfentanil have been seized along with guns and pill-pressing machinery. Officers said the large amounts of carfentanil are extremely concerning as it can be 1,000 times more toxic than fentanyl.

Click to play video: '$211,000 in cash and drugs seized in New Westminster'
$211,000 in cash and drugs seized in New Westminster

B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety, Mike Farnworth, stated the investigation and dismantling of the group is commendable work done by the police.

“Gangs and organized crime are fuelling the toxic drug crisis, killing thousands of British Columbians every year and hurting communities across our province,” he said in a statement.

“This is a problem that crosses borders within Canada and across the world, and we are determined to do what it takes to stop it.”

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The seizures yielded a total of 356,000 counterfeit pills that included Adderall, Xanax, Percocet, OxyContin, and Oxycodone. The vast majority of the pills also contained carfentanil, and a mixture of methamphetamine, Benzodiazepine, heroin, and MDMA.

The seized quantities and makeup of each drug category are as follows:

  • 112,000 counterfeit OxyContin pills containing fentanyl, carfentanil, para-fluorofentanyl, and heroin
  • 7,500 counterfeit supeudol (oxycodone) pills containing fentanyl, carfentanil, and para-fluorofentanyl
  • 107,500 counterfeit oxycocet (generic Percocet) pills containing fentanyl, and carfentanil
  • 23,000 counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine
  • 106,000 counterfeit Xanax pills containing benzodiazepines, MDMA, and fentanyl

In addition to the seized counterfeit pills, FSOC investigator discovered four illegal firearms, more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition, and large quantities of precursor chemicals that seemed to have been prepared for mixing and pill pressing. The seized precursor chemicals included the following:

  • 77 kg of powder containing fentanyl
  • 77 kg of powder containing benzodiazepines
  • 12 kg of powder containing methamphetamine
  • 2 kg of powder containing carfentanil

The investigation and arrests were carried out by BC RCMP’s FSOC, B.C.’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and Abbotsford police.

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Anti-gang agency seizes weapons, vehicles, drugs in B.C. bust

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