VANCOUVER Police have seized approximately $3 million in deadly drugs, guns, and cash following a year-long investigation into a sophisticated organized crime ring fuelling the illicit drug market in the Downtown Eastside and beyond.
“We are committed to rooting out organized and predatory criminals who manufacture and produce the harmful street drugs that kill vulnerable people in our communities,” said Inspector Phil Heard, commanding officer of VPD’s Organized Crime Section.
“This seizure has disrupted business for a criminal organization and made life a bit safer for people struggling with illicit substance use.”
VPD launched Project Torque in November 2021 to target a drug-trafficking operation that was believed to be manufacturing and distributing fentanyl pills disguised as generic Percocet. While some of the drugs were sold in places like the Downtown Eastside, others were sent out of province and exchanged for cash.
Percocet is an opioid that is often prescribed to people who live with moderate to severe pain. While safe when consumed at prescribed dosages, the pills are often trafficked at street-level to opioid addicts. When illegally produced and laced with fentanyl by organized drug traffickers, the pills become highly addictive and often fatal, creating a significant public safety risk.
In October, VPD investigators executed multiple search warrants, seizing 72 kilograms of the fake, fentanyl-laced pills, along with 16.5 kilograms of cocaine, 88 kilograms of cutting agents, methamphetamine, MDMA, and benzodiazepine. If sold on the street, the drugs would have netted $3 million to fuel organized crime and violence in Metro Vancouver.
VPD investigators also seized three handguns, ammunition, body armour, and $123,000 in cash, resulting in three arrests.
“These are impressive results borne from the hard work and dedication of our specially-trained gangs and drugs experts, who spent months gathering evidence against these organized criminals,” said Heard.
“This should serve as a reminder to other illicit drug producers – by the time you realize we’ve been watching you, you could already be in handcuffs.”
VPD anticipates multiple charges will be laid at the conclusion of the investigation.