Victoria police say they seized one kilogram of “extremely high-concentration” fentanyl, valued at more than $1 million, in October during a drug trafficking arrest.
In July, VicPD Strike Force officers started a project targeting organized crime in Victoria.
During the investigation, officers identified a supply chain of high-concentration fentanyl being trafficked locally.
On Oct. 21, officers and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team arrested a suspect in connection with organized drug trafficking in the 0-block of Dallas Road.
Police said no one was injured during the arrest.
Drug analysis by Health Canada revealed the seized kilogram to be an unusually rare, high-concentration of fentanyl, police said.
“The subsequent analysis of this kilogram of a controlled substance by Health Canada confirmed it has a concentration of 90 per cent fentanyl, which is rare, and extremely troubling,” VicPD Acting Insp. Conor King, an illicit drug specialist, said.
“Typically samples are found to contain on average 10 percent fentanyl. In 2019 only one sample in Canada tested above 75 per cent. Unfortunately, in 2020, samples across the country are testing positive for greater concentrations of fentanyl, which is a concerning trend. Nationally, there have been seven samples tested above 75 percent this year. In the midst of an opioid overdose pandemic, the dangerously high concentration of this seized fentanyl, in this amount, would undoubtedly have resulted in more deaths.”
The wholesale value of this kilogram of 90 per cent fentanyl is $140,000. The street value is over one million dollars. This is enough fentanyl to supply an estimated 495,000 lethal doses to our community.
Police have not named the suspect but say they are recommending drug trafficking charges. The Strike Force officers are also recommending several drug trafficking-related charges against two men from Surrey, and a man and a woman from Vancouver.
VicPD made the announcement about the seizure during a news conference on Thursday, with both VicPD Chief Del Manak and Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health, speaking.
“This significant seizure of high concentration fentanyl comes in the midst of a provincial opioid crisis. Over 1,000 people have died in illicit drug deaths in British Columbia in 2020. Many of these deaths are the result of toxic drugs, like fentanyl, circulating in our community,” Manak said.
“This crisis affects people from all walks of life, across all socioeconomic groups. It reaches into our high schools and into our homes. It kills our families and our friends. Make no mistake, we at VicPD join with police departments across B.C. in advocating for a safe supply for those who are living with addiction. This seizure supports those efforts. The targeted enforcement of drug traffickers associated to organized crime groups in our community is an important step in combatting the unsafe supply of these toxic drugs, ending the public health emergency, and saving lives.”
Stanwick said the toxic drug alert has been extended for a second week in Victoria and the seizure brings focus to the overdose crisis, B.C.’s other public health emergency amid COVID-19.
“Even more grim is that we tragically lose as many people to overdose in a single week on Vancouver Island than the total number of lives claimed since March by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stanwick said.
“In fact, the pandemic has likely contributed to the resurgence in overdose deaths compared to last year.”