Carfentanil detected in Victoria for the first time, police say


An ion scanner showing an alarm for carfentanil from the drug sample. Credit: VicPD

Police say carfentanil has been detected in drugs seized during an arrest on the West Shore last week, marking the first instance of the deadly opioid in Victoria.

The deadly opioid was found after drugs were seized when two men were arrested on Aug. 2. The arrest was part of a joint investigation involving VicPD’s Strike Force and Crime Reduction Unit and West Shore RCMP. This is the first time carfentanil has been detected in Victoria. It was previously detected in drugs seized in Nanaimo and Port Alberni earlier this year.

Police said Horst Francisco Schirmer and another man were taken into custody after West Shore RCMP stopped a vehicle in the 1000 block of Goldstream Avenue following a request from VicPD investigators. Members of the Strike Force and Crime Reduction Unit assisted in the arrest.

A satchel that contained drugs was seized by police during the arrest. VicPD said officers found a small packet in the satchel containing a powder that resembled heroin mixed with another drug. Just over a half kilogram of cocaine mixed with fentanyl, methamphetamine mixed with fentanyl, cash, drug paraphernalia, marijuana and brass knuckles, which are a prohibited weapon, were also found in the satchel.

Carfentanil, which is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine, is used by veterinarians to tranquillize large animals.

When VicPD investigators used an ion scanner in a new negative pressure drug processing room, they discovered carfentanil in the powder.

VicPD investigators processing exhibits in the drug processing room. Credit: VicPD

Prior to the arrest, Schirmer was wanted on arrest warrants for his violations of two sets of court-ordered conditions, which included prohibitions for the possession of controlled substances, weapons possession and stipulations for house arrest. The conditions stemmed from a series of arrests earlier this year and Schirmer is facing several outstanding charges related to drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and breaches of court-ordered conditions.

The recent investigation began with information that Schirmer was again breaching those conditions and warrants were issued for his arrest.

Schirmer remains in custody following last week’s arrest, while the other man was released on a promise to reappear.


Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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