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2 people charged after B.C. RCMP intercept massive drug shipment headed to Port of Vancouver

B.C. RCMP seized 40,000 fentanyl pills at a Richmond apartment in February 2016.
B.C. RCMP seized 40,000 fentanyl pills at a Richmond apartment in February 2016. File/Courtesy B.C. RCMP

Two people from the Lower Mainland have been hit with drug trafficking charges in connection to a massive drug shipment that was seized before reaching the Port of Vancouver last year.

According to a release from B.C. RCMP, 132 kilograms of cocaine and 40,000 fentanyl pills were seized from both a shipment headed from Brazil to Vancouver and a Richmond apartment.

Yan Chau Lam from Richmond and Gertrude Cheong from Vancouver have both been charged with one count of conspiring to possess a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

Lam, 48, has also been charged with conspiring to import a controlled substance and three counts of unlawfully possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP seek 5th suspect after major cocaine, fentanyl seizure results in 4 arrests

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The 17-month investigation began in February 2016, when RCMP were alerted by U.S. border patrol agents that a shipment bound for Vancouver had arrived at the Long Beach seaport in Los Angeles.

The border agents discovered three roller suitcases inside a refrigerated container of legal goods. Inside the suitcases were 110 packages of cocaine, totaling 132 kilograms.

READ MORE: Big bust on B.C./Washington border when drugs found in hidden compartment

“We believe they were ‘tailgating,'” B.C. RCMP organized crime chief Cal Chrustie said in the release. “That’s when drug traffickers piggyback a legitimate shipment of goods.”

RCMP then intercepted two alleged drug traffickers shortly after the discovery at the port. A search warrant was issued at a Richmond apartment, where police say “numerous exhibits” were found, including 40,000 fentanyl pills and a one-kilogram brick of methamphetamine.

Courtesy B.C. RCMP.
Courtesy B.C. RCMP.
B.C. RCMP seized 40,000 fentanyl pills at a Richmond apartment in February 2016.
B.C. RCMP seized 40,000 fentanyl pills at a Richmond apartment in February 2016. File/Courtesy B.C. RCMP

Cheong, 43, and Lam have been released on bail and are scheduled to appear in a Richmond court on Oct. 31.

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Cheong has faced drug trafficking-related charges before. In 2008, she was arrested along with a different partner in connection to the largest seizure of ecstasy in Manitoba’s history, after a traffic stop led to the discovery of about a million tablets worth $20 million.