A drug investigation that began in Delta led to a substantial fentanyl bust in Burnaby on Thursday, and additional search warrants executed at properties in Richmond and Surrey.
Sgt. Sarah Swallow with the Delta Police Department said two men were arrested late Thursday in connection to the three properties searched.
"Warrants were executed at all of those properties, and when they entered this property here in Burnaby, they found a large fentanyl lab," said Swallow on Friday. "It wasn't a manufacturing lab, or production lab, it was a lab where fentanyl was taken and turned into a street-ready drug ... It sounds like a packaging or processing lab."
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Swallow wasn't sure how much of the drug had been seized, but she said it could be measured in kilograms, rather than grams or ounces.
The RCMP's federally funded Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response, or CLEAR team, could be seen working in the taped-off area in a townhouse and apartment complex near the 7400-block of Magnolia Terrace in Burnaby on Friday.
The Burnaby Fire Department's hazardous materials team and paramedics with B.C. Emergency Health Services were standing by in case of an emergency.
"Anytime there's a HAZMAT response, we assist the police agencies and we work really well with that to provide the [decontamination] and the [rapid intervention team], as well," said Dave Samson, a staff officer with the Burnaby Fire Department.
"The word we've got from the police is [we'll be here] two to three days," he said. "It's fairly typical for a [clandestine] lab of this type of thing. It takes them awhile; they have to go through their procedures, so we're just here to assist them and protect them, as well as the public."
Quiet, residential neighbourhood
Zereno, 12, who only gave his first name, lives across the street. He and his stepmother were surprised to see the police activity in their otherwise quiet neighbourhood.
"It's kind of scary, but it's a good thing that the cops found out and busted them," he said. "It's not that good at all, and people shouldn't use [fentanyl] or anything, because they might die."
According to a Delta Police Department statement, there were 471 deaths in Canada in 2015 directly connected to fentanyl. There have already been 132 fentanyl deaths across the country this year.
"What I hear from the drug experts is that … a couple grains of fentanyl about the size of rice, or the size of salt, can cause somebody to overdose," said Swallow.
"I don't know if it was going on here, but what typically the people that do this do, is they take the fentanyl, they dye it a brown colour so it looks like heroin, then they add a vinegary smell to it," she said. "It makes it look very like heroin, then they sell it with heroin, or they sell it on its own as fake heroin."