Police raids net deadly drug fentanyl

Ten arrested, nearly 700,000 pills seized in Metro Vancouver

A small portion of the drugs and other items seized by VPD and RCMP officers Feb. 17.

Police have charged 10 suspects and seized a huge amount of the synthetic drug fentanyl that’s been blamed in dozens of overdose deaths in B.C. last year.

The coordinated raids on Feb. 17 in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver and Richmond yielded 29,000 fentanyl pills, 650,000 yet-to-be-identified pills suspected to contain either fentanyl or Alprazolam, a pill press, seven vehicles, $215,000 in cash, four guns, 16 kilograms of crack or powdered cocaine and varying amounts of other drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin.

RELATED:Surge in fentanyl overdose deaths sparks warning

The joint Vancouver Police-RCMP operation dubbed Project Tainted began last October as alarm grew about unprecedented numbers of overdose deaths from drugs laced with fentanyl, which is a highly toxic opioid painkiller.

“The goal of this project was to target those who were peddling poison in our communities, and to disrupt the local supply of fentanyl-laced drugs that were being distributed throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond,” said RCMP Chief Supt. Kevin deBruyckere.

Police said one of their primary targets in the investigation was a suspect tied to a recent shooting in south Burnaby. Maksym Pefti, 22, of Burnaby, has been arrested on charges of attempted murder and trafficking, while nine others face trafficking charges.

VPD Supt. Mike Porteous called the seizures and arrests a “significant blow” to the local distributors of the deadly drug.

Police believe fentanyl came here from Asia in powdered form before being cut with other powder and pressed into pills in Metro Vancouver and then distributed throughout the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in B.C.

“The tendrils extended from Vancouver and Burnaby into the rest of the Lower Mainland and beyond,” deBruyckere said.

Officers say pills turning up on the streets are often sold as OxyContin but in fact contain fentanyl, while other drugs – even marijuana – have also been found laced with fentanyl.

An estimated 75 overdose deaths in B.C. last year have been tied to fentanyl, with the largest numbers of deaths occurring in Vancouver, Langley and Surrey.

Casual party drug users who take pills or snort or smoke drugs are considered most at risk, rather than the injection drug users who are more often associated with overdoses.

Fentanyl accounted for 25 per cent of overdose deaths last year, up from five per cent in 2012.

Just Posted

Maple Ridge’s tent city evacuation shelter closing

Becomes a night refuge only, then shuts for good March 31

Former Maple Ridge resident in Sonic Boom Music Fest

Aaron Graham will be featured at the upcoming Sonic Boom Music Festival

UPDATE: Styrofoam melting machine the cause of Saturday’s fire in Pitt Meadows

Fire spread quickly to surrounding Styrofoam and lumber

Looking Back: Books and haircuts

What do they have in common?

Bees facing high mortality after long, hard winter

Some Pitt Meadows beekeepers seeing half of their hives die

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

Most Read