A new flurry of police raids across Metro Vancouver have turned up 23,000 fentanyl pills, among other drugs, guns and cash.
Officers conducted 11 searches in Vancouver, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Surrey and Maple Ridge on March 11 following a six-month investigation dubbed Project Trooper that’s expected to result in charges against nearly a dozen accused.
It was the latest in a series of initiatives to target the trade in deadly fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that has triggered a spike in fatal overdoses across the region.
Vancouver Police say a crime group distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl to Downtown Eastside residents was also believed to be shipping large quantities to Vancouver Island and Alberta.
The drugs seized were worth an estimated $1.8 million and included more than 20 kilograms of cocaine, 12 kilograms of methamphetamine and 1.6 kilograms of heroin.
Eight vehicles were seized – four of them with hidden compartments – as well as a dozen guns, GPS tracking devices, a radio jamming device and $575,000 in cash.
At least 75 overdose deaths in B.C. last year have been tied to fentanyl, with the largest numbers of deaths occurring in Vancouver, Langley and Surrey.
Casual party drug users who take pills or snort or smoke drugs are considered most at risk, rather than the injection drug users who are more often associated with overdoses.