SGT. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC) on Wednesday announced that a seven-month investigation into the alleged drug trafficking activities of a crime cell based out of the Fraser Valley, but operating primarily in northern B.C., has resulted in the arrests of several people and the seizure of millions of dollars worth of illegal and potentially deadly drugs.
In late August last year, the CFSEU-BC began an investigation into the drug distribution network of a group of people based in Chilliwack. Between September and November, the CFSEU-BC’s investigators gathered evidence that connected the alleged drug dealers to an apartment in the 45600 block of Brett Avenue in Chilliwack.
On November 26, the CFSEU-BC’s investigators and members of the Uniform Gang Enforcement Unit, with the help of the RCMP’s Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team, executed a search warrant on the Brett Avenue apartment. A 28-year-old man and a 32-year-old man were arrested at the scene.
A search of the apartment resulted in officers seizing:
* 28 kg of Phenacetin and caffeine – used as a cocaine buffing /cutting agent (estimated street value $56,000)
* A large cocaine press with numerous kilogram metal frames
* A large amount of drug-related packaging material
Following the search warrant and seizure of the items, both men were released from custody, as the investigation into their alleged activities remained ongoing.
On the morning of February 26, the CFSEU-BC, again with the help of the RCMP’s LMD ERT, executed two simultaneous search warrants on residences in Chilliwack, one in the 45500-block of McIntosh Drive believed to be a stash house and the other, a residence of one of the suspects in the 8800-block of Nowell Street.
No one was found at the McIntosh Drive residence, but two people, a 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, were arrested at the Nowell Street address.
Later on February 26, the CFSEU-BC members executed an additional three search warrants for storage lockers in Chilliwack. A 22-year-old man and a 24-year-old man were arrested as they left one of the units, and another 22-year-old man was arrested as he came to another one of the storage units.
All five were later released from custody, with charges pending, as the examination of the drugs and forensic analysis of all of the items seized takes place. As a result of the evidence obtained, more arrests are likely in the coming months.
During the execution of the five search warrants on February 26, 2015 by the CFSEU-BC investigators, the following items were seized:
* 4.559 kg of marijuana (estimated street value $12,000)
* 1.669 kg of crystal methamphetamine (estimated street value $40,000)
* 709.1 g of crystal MDMA (estimated street value $4,000)
* 324.1 g of crack cocaine (estimated street value $18,500)
* 2.588 kg of powder cocaine (estimated street value $125,000)
* 2.136 kg of Fentanyl powder (estimated street value $284,800)
* 12.83 kg of Fentanyl pills (approximately 43,000 pills -estimated street value between $3.44 million and $4.3 million at $80-$100/pill street value in northern B.C.)
* 56.777 kg Phenacetin – used as a cocaine cutting / buffing agent (estimated street value $114,000)
* 54 ‘tubs’ of MSM or Methylsulfonylmethane – used as a cocaine cutting/buffing agent (estimated street value $1,300)
* 3 Norinco SKS 7.62 mm semi-automatic rifles
* 1 prohibited magazine
* 2 Lucznik BRS99 9 mm sub-machine guns equipped with sound suppressors and with magazines
* 1 Smith and Wesson M&P 9 mm semi-automatic handgun with two magazines and ammunition
* 1 Smith and Wesson 66 .357 cal revolver
* 1 Norinco 54-1 7.62 mm semi-automatic handgun
* 6 boxes of various calibres of ammunition
The total street value of all of the drugs together, from the November and February searches, is estimated to be $5,155,000.
It is believed that this Chilliwack-based criminal cell operated the overwhelming majority of their alleged drug trafficking activities in cities and towns from Williams Lake to as far north as Fort St John and Dawson Creek. Evidence also suggests that they have supplied the local Chilliwack drug markets. Those arrested have yet to be charged.
“This investigation and the subsequent seizures will likely have a significant disruptive effect on this group’s ability to conduct crime in B.C.’s central and north regions and put people at risk,” said Houghton. “We have all heard of the dangers that drugs like Fentanyl pose to users and we are extremely pleased that we could make B.C.’s streets safer.”