27 million doses of potentially lethal fentanyl held from hitting the streets

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Three BC men have been charged following the dismantling of a drug super lab by the BC RCMP Federal Policing Clandestine Laboratories Enforcement and Response team (CLEAR).

On January 14, 2022, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) program’s CLEAR team executed two search warrants on properties located in the cities of Abbotsford, and Surrey, BC, and arrested three men for their alleged involvement in the operation of a sophisticated clandestine drug lab.

The search of the sites uncovered a drug super lab at the Abbotsford location, with evidence of a synthetic drug operation that was producing fentanyl, MDMA (ecstasy), and cannabis extracts. The location also contained a mobile fentanyl lab, and two boxed drug labs.

Given the structure and significant operational capacity of the clandestine drug lab, it was deemed a super lab; a term used to describe large-scale, sophisticated clandestine drug labs with the capability of producing sizable quantities of illicit drugs, that are also often tied to organized crime.

The complex, multijurisdictional investigation by the BC RCMP CLEAR team that was launched in August of 2021 has resulted in the seizure of approximately 36 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 4 kg of pure fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of marihuana bud, approximately $20,000.00 in cash, and a cache of precursor chemicals for the production of fentanyl. In assessing the seized bulk chemicals, Health Canada concluded that the precursor chemicals at this location could have produced an additional 50 kg of pure fentanyl.

The suspects, Kevin Gonzales, Jemroi Ibarra, and Duc Phung have also been charged with multiple drug related offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).

Based on a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage. Therefore, the pure fentanyl seized during this investigation could have amounted to over 27 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.

The Government of Canada’s estimated opioid toxicity deaths amount to approximately 20 deaths per day, with over 76% of cases involving toxic fentanyl.

Access and availability to toxic drugs is a primary factor in many deaths. These drugs come from unsanctioned, uncontrolled, and profit driven facilities. Out of the thousands of loved ones lost to the toxic drug supply, it seems especially tragic that many of the perished have been young Canadians who would have otherwise had their entire lives ahead of them. This is why we are unequivocally committed to preventing toxic opioids from destroying more lives, causing more grief, and threatening the future of our nation. said Superintendent Bert Ferreira, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Border Integrity Program.

The BC RCMP Federal Policing CLEAR team targets organized crime groups involved in the production of illicit drugs, and works towards dismantling clandestine labs, while bringing the individuals responsible to justice.

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.