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Sask. RCMP say danger still exists after ‘Project Forseti’ drug bust

RCMP say a fake oxycontin bust serves as a reminder that risks still exist in Saskatchewan, even after successful police raids in mid-January. Saskatchewan RCMP / Supplied

SASKATOON – More charges involving fake oxycontin have been laid in Saskatchewan after a coordinated police operation in mid-January. Two suspects turned themselves in to police in Saskatoon on Monday.

Ruslan Jamal Bakruridze, 29, and Adam Harada, 30, are both from B.C. There were warrants for their arrest stemming from the ongoing “Project Forseti” investigation.

Bakuridze is charged with:

  • 2 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (methamphetamine);
  • Trafficking in a controlled substance (heroin);
  • 2 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (fentanyl); and
  • 2 counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

Harada is charged with:

  • 3 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (methamphetamine);
  • 2 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance (fentanyl);
  • Trafficking in a controlled substance (cocaine);
  • Trafficking in a controlled substance (heroin); and
  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

Both made their first provincial court appearance on Monday.

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Project Forseti is a significant investigation into organized crime conducted by the Integrated Organized Crime Unit – North, which includes RCMP and Saskatoon police officers. On Jan. 14, 19 search warrants were executed in Saskatoon and other communities in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Fourteen people were arrested and charged. Nearly 3,360 fentanyl pills, firearms and other drugs were seized during the operation.

RCMP also announced Monday that the Saskatoon Integrated Drug Enforcement Street Team (SIDEST) executed a search warrant in the city’s Lakeview neighbourhood on Jan. 16.

Officers seized a small amount of fentanyl pills, also known as fake oxycontin, and cash at a residence in the 500-block of Wollaston Terrace.

Eduardo Ivan, 51, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime under $5,000.

RCMP say this drug bust serves as a reminder that even after the success of Project Forseti, risks and dangers still exist in the province.

“The significance is that there are people still trafficking in these dangerous pills and there are obviously people still buying them,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Donovan Fisher.

At least three people in Saskatoon have died after taking fentanyl over the last five months.

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READ MORE: Fake oxycontin victim’s father wishes drug bust happened sooner

“Just because you may have taken these fake oxycontin pills in the past and didn’t suffer any permanent harm, does not mean you will be as lucky in the future,” said Fisher.

“There have been inconsistencies identified in the production of these pills, resulting in more or less fentanyl being in one pill to the next and potentially having lethal consequences.”

Olivares is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Feb. 18.

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