BC RCMP Federal Policing have arrested two individuals, and seized a massive cache of precursor chemicals capable of producing 262 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, and 3 million dosages of MDMA (ecstasy).
The 22-month-long investigation by the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime program (FSOC) was launched after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) intercepted 54 boxes of liquid gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) in April of 2021.
GBL is classified as a Class A precursor, in Part I of Schedule VI of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). With the use of advanced investigative tools and techniques, BC RCMP FSOC investigators were able to identify an individual believed to be associated to the GBL importation, in addition to the smuggling of other precursor chemicals into Canada.
On February 23, 2023, the BC RCMP FSOC Border Integrity unit simultaneously executed a series of search warrants across Metro Vancouver, and arrested a man and a woman for their alleged involvement in the importation of synthetic drug precursor chemicals.
The coordinated multijurisdictional enforcement action included the BC RCMP Federal Policing Clandestine Laboratories Enforcement and Response team (CLEAR), the BC RCMP Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team (LMD-ERT), The Vancouver Police Department Emergency Response Team (VPD-ERT), Richmond RCMP detachment, Burnaby RCMP detachment, and a number of other BC RCMP Federal Policing units.
The searches of two residences in Vancouver and Burnaby and three storage facilities in the cities of Vancouver and Surrey, led to the discovery of over 600 kilograms of the fentanyl precursor, 4-Piperidone monohydrate hydrochloride, valued at $600,000; and over 200 kilograms of an MDMA (ecstasy) precursor, Piperonyl Methyl Ketone ethyl glycidate (PMK), valued at $120,000.
The amount of precursor chemicals seized at these locations could have produced over 525 kilograms of fentanyl, and over 150 kilograms of MDMA, when combined with other chemicals required for their synthesis. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a 2 milligram dose of fentanyl can prove lethal for some individuals; therefore, the seized 4-Piperidone in this case could have produced over 262 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl, according to the RCMP.
“In order to evade detection at ports of entry and defeat law enforcement agencies, organized crime groups are increasingly resorting to the importation of precursor chemicals into Canada, and manufacturing the synthetic drugs in local illicit drug labs. Therefore, our highly trained FSOC investigators are also continuously adapting, and implementing cutting edge technology, and investigative techniques, to combat these sophisticated criminal organizations,” said, A/Superintendent Jim Leonard, Officer in Charge of the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime Border Integrity Program.
In addition to the precursor chemicals seized at these locations, other items of interest seized were three high-end vehicles, two luxury watches, electronic goods, cash, dried cannabis, and an assortment of other chemicals used in the manufacturing of illicit synthetic drugs, which are commonly used in other every day products and not regulated/scheduled.
“Our joint effort with the RCMP has led to the removal of narcotics from Canadian communities and the loss of revenue for organized crime. Our border services officers, intelligence officers and analysts are dedicated to keeping Canadians safe,” said Nina Patel, Regional Director General, CBSA Pacific Region.