Police seize massive shipment of Victoria-bound fentanyl sent from China
Jeff Lawrence, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:05PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:12PM PST
Victoria police have seized a shipment of illicit drugs from China worth $1.2-million, including a massive quantity of the deadly opiate fentanyl.
In a news conference Thursday, police said a multi-jurisdictional investigation led Canada Border Services Agency officers to a shipment of 1.45 kilograms of fentanyl bound for Greater Victoria.
That’s enough of the drug to cause 725,000 overdoses, according to investigators – more than twice the population of the Capital Regional District.
“Unfortunately, this kind of operation is all too common,” said Staff-Sgt. Conor King. “This group of individuals weren’t even on our radar necessarily. We’re focused at all times on all sorts of crime groups in the city, but the profit that is available to crime groups is so tempting is that there are many factions, many crime groups operating at any given time.”
The fentanyl was addressed to a home in the Cook Street Village area of Victoria, but to their surprise, investigators were then led to a family-oriented apartment building in East Saanich.
That’s where they seized 6,052 individual doses of a heroin and fentanyl mixture, 6.2 kilograms of cocaine in powder and crack form. 1.2 kilograms of meth and $8,425 in cash.
“I have every reason to believe that everything you see here was destined for the Greater Victoria area,” said King. “While some of it may have been moved into the hands of other lower-level drug dealers, and nothing would preclude them from moving it up-island or into Vancouver, generally I believe that much of this was destined for our market.”
Duc Khoung Pham, 27, from Montreal, was arrested in connection with the bust and has been charged with multiple drug trafficking offenses including importing/exporting a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Pham remains in custody.
“The investigation is ongoing as to the identity of his associates. Once identified, there will be additional charges,” King said.
B.C. Solicitor General Mike Morris said the RCMP has been working with Chinese officials since reaching an agreement to try to stop the flow of fentanyl into Canada.
“We’ve got a significant problem. We’re going to continue to have a significant problem. As long as there’s vulnerable people out there who are addicted to these drugs, there’s going to be some low life out there trying to take advantage of them,” he said. “I’m hoping to see some significant results in the not-too-distant future.”
The province declared a public health emergency earlier this year as the death toll from illicit drug overdoses, especially those involving fentanyl, hit an all-time high.