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B.C. RCMP seize chemicals capable of producing ‘millions of doses’ of fentanyl

Click to play video: 'Major drug production facilities in Metro Vancouver busted'
Major drug production facilities in Metro Vancouver busted
WATCH: B.C. RCMP say two separate investigations have seized millions of illicit drug pills, and enough production materials to make millions more. Jennifer Palma reports. – Mar 16, 2023

RCMP in British Columbia said Thursday they had arrested six people and seized precursor chemicals capable of producing millions of doses of fentanyl in a pair of major drug enforcement operations.

The 22-month investigation was led by the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime program, and involved coordination with a variety of policing units, including municipal police. Raids were carried out in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Delta, Richmond and North Vancouver.

“Hundreds of millions of doses of potentially lethal toxic drugs have been kept away from our communities, having possibly saved thousands of lives and spared an untold number of families from having to grieve the loss of their loved ones,” said Assistant Commissioner Will Ng, officer in charge of RCMP federal investigative services and organized crime.

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Police said the investigation began when the Canada Border Services Agency intercepted 54 boxes of liquid gamma-butyrolactone, a controlled precursor chemical, in April 2021, leading police to two suspected smugglers.

Click to play video: 'Three charged in ‘drug super lab’ bust'
Three charged in ‘drug super lab’ bust

On Feb. 23, police raided multiple addresses across Metro Vancouver, where they seized 600 kilograms of a fentanyl precursor and 200 kilograms of an MDMA precursor. Mounties estimated the chemicals could have produced 525 kilograms of fentanyl and about 150 kilograms of MDMA.

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Investigators also seized multiple firearms, three high-end vehicles, a pair of luxury watches, electronics, cash, cannabis and other chemicals.

The operation has “undoubtedly caused a major blow to the organized crime groups involved in this production,” said RCMP Supt. David Teboul, acting officer in charge of the B.C. RCMP federal policing program.

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Teboul said the raids also resulted in the largest-ever bust of a pill-pressing facility, which was capable of cranking out up to 60,000 pills per hour.

Police say organized crime groups are increasingly leaning on the import of precursor chemicals needed to manufacture illegal street drugs as a way to evade detection at Canada’s borders.

Nearly 2,300 people died in B.C. in 2022 due to the consumption of suspected illicit toxic drugs.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated more than 2,700 people had died drug related deaths in 2022. The article has been updated with the correct figure. 

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