FSOC dismantles transnational synthetic opioid production and distribution operation
Federal Serious and Organized Crime
2023-03-16 12:45 PDT
Table of Contents
A major multijurisdictional transnational organized crime investigation by BC RCMP Federal Policing has led to the execution of 11 search warrants, in 5 municipalities across BC, with 4 suspects arrested, multiple firearms confiscated, and millions of doses of potentially toxic drugs and precursor chemicals seized.
In September 2022, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program (FSOC) - Major Projects Team began an investigation into an organized crime group involved in illegal opioid drug production and distribution. The initial parts of the investigation quickly revealed that several individuals in this group were gang members involved in the ongoing violent gang conflict that has been unfolding across BC.
On March 1, 2023, FSOC Major Projects Team, and numerous partner agencies simultaneously executed 11 search warrants on locations in the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, and Surrey. These Search Warrants resulted in significant seizures of various types of finished pills and pressed tablets, three firearms, cash, electronic devices, significant quantities of precursor chemicals, and multi-kilograms of other illicit substances. Located at one of the sites was a significantly advanced pill pressing operation capable of producing approximately 60,000 pills per hour when in full operation. Although a large number of additional seized exhibits are still being processed, current estimates put the total quantity of pills seized to be in excess of one million tablets.
In addition to the BC RCMP FSOC Major Projects Team, other internal and external partners involved in this enforcement action operations included the BC RCMP Federal Policing Clandestine Laboratories Enforcement and Response team (CLEAR), the BC RCMP FSOC Border Integrity unit, the BC RCMP Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team (LMD-ERT), The Vancouver Police Department Emergency Response Team (VPD-ERT), North Vancouver RCMP, Richmond RCMP, Surrey RCMP, the Delta Police Department (DPD), the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), and the BC RCMP Legal Applications Support Team.
Acting Superintendent Jillian Wellard, of the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime - Major Projects stated,
The indisputable timeliness of this enforcement action comes in the midst of a continuing public health emergency, which is in large part precipitated by the toxic supply of fentanyl that fuels the ongoing opioids crisis. The significant amount of illicit drugs seized, as well as the dismantling of this criminal network and their sophisticated pill-pressing operation has prevented millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs from entering our communities.
According to the latest publication by the Government of British Columbia Coroners Service, the number of lives lost to the lethal opioid crisis remains steady well into the first months of 2023, with the toxic drug supply taking approximately 7 lives per day, across the province. Figures from 2022 also indicate 82% of the illicit toxic drug related deaths took place indoors. Of these, 55% occurred in private residences, 29% in other residences that include social, and supportive housing, shelters, and other indoor locations; with 15% of deaths occurring outside, in vehicles, sidewalks, parks, etc.
With this ongoing investigation being in its preliminary stages, FSOC investigators continue to work closely with their domestic and international partners. FSOC Major Projects will also continue to liaise with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) regarding charges against the four suspects arrested, well as other individuals connected to this investigation. While their identities cannot be revealed pending charge approval, at least one of the individuals arrested is currently ranked as a
Provincial Targeting Enforcement Priority for his alleged involvement in the ongoing violent gang conflict in Metro Vancouver.
If you know anyone who may be struggling with addiction, you can seek assistance through the BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service Line at 1-800-663-1441. And if you have information about a crime and wish to report it, you may contact your local police agency, or report it anonymously by calling BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Speaking Notes - A/Comm Will Ng
- Good morning,
- I am Assistant Commissioner Will Ng, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Criminal Operations, Federal Investigative Services and Organized Crime.
- We are here to provide you with details on two separate major enforcement actions, led by the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program - Border Integrity unit, and Major Projects team.
- In 2022, nearly 2,300 British Columbians lost their lives to the toxic drug supply, with over 80 percent of fatalities being attributed to the toxic supply of synthetic opioids.
- We have now entered the eighth year of BC’s Public Health Emergency, brought about by the ever increasing supply of toxic drugs into the province.
- BC RCMP Federal Policing is responsible for protecting Canadians from the most serious criminal threats posed by Transnational Organized Crime, and other entities that threaten our National Security.
- Committed to protecting our communities from dangers posed by these sophisticated criminal networks, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program continues to work closely with our domestic, and international partners, to disrupt, and dismantle these organized crime groups, before they cause more harm to our society.
- As a result of these two major investigations, hundreds of millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs have been kept out of our communities; having possibly saved thousands of lives, and spared an untold number from having to grieve the loss of their loved ones.
- Thank you.
Speaking Notes - Supt. David Teboul
- Good morning, I am Superintendent David Teboul, Acting Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Policing program.
- Thank you for joining us today, as we announce the successful outcome of two recent major operations by the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program – F.S.O.C for short.
- Over the last several weeks, the BC RCMP FSOC Border Integrity Unit, and Major Projects team, led a number of major enforcement actions against several sophisticated Transnational Organized Crime groups across Metro Vancouver.
- These investigations are a part of the BC RCMP Federal Policing program’s multi-pronged approach to combatting organize crime elements, that are responsible for the importation, production, and distribution of the toxic drug supply that has killed thousands of British Columbians.
- With the assistance of our domestic and international partners, these separate investigations led to the execution of over a dozen search warrants across Metro Vancouver, namely, in the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, and North Vancouver.
- They culminated in the arrest of 6 individuals, and the seizure of large caches of precursor chemicals capable of producing several hundred million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, and millions of doses of MDMA.
- This is one of the largest and most sophisticated pill pressing operations ever taken down in BC and was capable of producing approximately 60,000 pills an hour;
- The seizures also included approximately 1 million pills, numerous firearms, cash, luxury goods, and other illicit drugs.
- The investigation and successful search Warrant executions would not have been possible without the significant resources of RCMP Federal Policing and the assistance of our Municipal Police Partners;
- Although these investigations are ongoing, the enforcement actions taken by the BC RCMP Federal Policing program and our partner agencies, have undoubtedly caused a major blow to the organized crime groups involved.
- And by keeping the millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs out of our communities, we have once again demonstrated our unwavering commitment to protecting Canadians from the most serious criminal elements facing our nation.
- Thank you.
BC RCMP Communication Services
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