Three men have been charged following the dismantling of a drug “super lab” in Abbotsford and related activities in Surrey that involved the potential for 27 million doses of fentanyl hitting the streets.
The BC RCMP made the announcement in a press release issued Tuesday (Jan. 17).
The Abbotsford News reported on Jan. 19, 2022 that BC RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) had been set up for several days at a property on Lefeuvre Road, just north of Starr Road, not far from the Aldergrove border.
Police at the time confirmed they were investigating a drug super lab.
The press release Tuesday confirms that CLEAR executed two search warrants on Jan. 14, 2022 on properties in Abbotsford and Surrey, and arrested three men.
Cpl. Arash Seyed, media officer with Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC), said in the press release that evidence was uncovered that the drug operation was producing fentanyl, MDMA and cannabis extracts. The location also contained a mobile fentanyl lab, and two boxed drug labs.
The term “super lab” is used to describe large-scale drug operations, often tied to organized crime, with the capability of producing sizable quantities of illicit drugs.
Seyed said the investigation began in August 2021 and resulted in the seizure of approximately 36 pounds of crystal meth, four kilograms of pure fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of marijuana bud, approximately $20,000 in cash, and a cache of precursor chemicals for the production of fentanyl.
Seyed said Health Canada concluded that the precursor chemicals at the Abbotsford location could have produced an additional 50 kilograms of pure fentanyl.
He said the pure fentanyl seized “could have amounted to over 27 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl,” based on reports from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that “two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal.”
The Government of Canada’s estimated opioid toxicity deaths amount to approximately 20 deaths per day, with over 76 per cent of cases involving toxic fentanyl, he said.
Supt. Bert Ferreira, officer in charge of FSOC’s Border Integrity Program, said the access and availability to toxic drugs is a “primary factor” in many deaths.
“These drugs come from unsanctioned, uncontrolled, and profit-driven facilities. Out of the thousands of loved ones lost to the toxic drug supply, it seems especially tragic that many of the perished have been young Canadians who would have otherwise had their entire lives ahead of them,” he said.
“This is why we are unequivocally committed to preventing toxic opioids from destroying more lives, causing more grief, and threatening the future of our nation.”
Kevin Gonzales, 33, Jemroi Ibarra, 34, and Duc Phung, 36 have each been charged with several drug offences, including production of a controlled substance in Abbotsford and possession for the purpose of trafficking in Surrey. All three men remain at large.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the suspects can call BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.