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Crime

Surrey drug bust at home-based lab a huge blow to major gang operation: RCMP

Head investigators from Surrey RCMP and federal law enforcement show off several packages of drugs and firearms seized during a search warrant execution at a South Surrey home on Aug. 6, 2019.
Head investigators from Surrey RCMP and federal law enforcement show off several packages of drugs and firearms seized during a search warrant execution at a South Surrey home on Aug. 6, 2019. Surrey RCMP

Surrey RCMP says officers have made a “substantial” drug seizure at a home-turned-lab operated by a major player in the Lower Mainland gang conflict.

Police said Thursday they executed a search warrant at a home in the 16300-block of 14A Avenue in South Surrey on Aug. 6.

A “large drug manufacturing operation” was discovered inside the home, according to RCMP, where “significant amounts” of illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized.

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Among the drugs seized are 63,000 doses of fake OxyContin pills, 94,000 doses of fake Percocet pills, 5,000 doses of suspected cocaine, 22,500 doses of fake heroin, and 200 doses of suspected methamphetamine.

Nearly 90 kg of an unknown cutting agent and 60 kg of a pill binding agent were also discovered, along with three pill presses capable of producing up to 16,000 pills per hour.

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The drugs were packaged in both bulk loads and for street-level distribution, RCMP says.

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Police say fentanyl may have been inside the lab, but could not yet say how much or how it was packaged.

Seven firearms were also seized, including six SKS assault rifles.

Two people were arrested during the operation, but have since been released pending further investigation.

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Investigators believe the lab is connected to the Brothers Keepers crime group, which RCMP say is heavily involved in the wave of gang violence that has plagued the Lower Mainland.

RCMP would not say explicitly whether the two arrested are connected to the gang.

Police units involved in the operation, including RCMP’s Surrey Gang Enforcement Team and the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team, said Thursday the drug bust not only cripples the gang’s drug network, but also eliminates a public safety risk.

READ MORE: Vancouver police bust ‘multimillion-dollar’ cannabis oil labs

“This seizure will cause a significant disruption to this group’s ability to distribute mass amounts of potentially fatal street drugs in the Lower Mainland,” Insp. Mike Hall with Surrey RCMP said in a release.

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“The public safety risks associated with these type of large-scale illicit drug operations cannot be understated, CLEAR Team Sgt. Derek Westwick added. “Clandestine labs pose a significant risk of contamination due to the volume of toxic and hazardous chemicals being handled by untrained individuals.”

RCMP say the investigation is ongoing, and are asking anyone with information helpful to investigators to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

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