British Columbia

'I'm smarter than they are': Underground chemist says police losing fentanyl battle

A B.C. drug producer known as Beeker opens up about the unstoppable force of fentanyl, and how underground chemists try to stay one step ahead of the police.

In new documentary, B.C. drug producer known as Beeker says fentanyl is just the beginning

"Beeker" is a talented chemist who is familiar with the underground drug world. 1:03

A B.C. drug producer known as Beeker says underground chemists are steps ahead of the police when it comes to the movement of illicit drugs on the streets.

Beeker is the subject of a new documentary, Unstoppable: The Fentanyl Epidemic, in which he opens up about the big business behind the drug.

He says police are far behind when it comes to tracking drugs throughout the province, and he says many local chemists are synthesizing drugs with materials ordered from China.

"I'm smarter than they are ... all of us chemists are smarter than the police, and we're gonna stay ahead of them," he coldly tells filmmaker Robert Osborne. "And if they find out one of the ones we are making, we'll make a different one — and this will go on forever."

Recent news does seem to prove him right: even deadlier opioids have already hit the streets in Vancouver. Carfentanil has turned up in several instances, according to Vancouver police — and it's 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

"Fentanyl is soon to be obsolete. It's just not going to be out there because there's much more profitable drugs — it doesn't matter about better or safer — much more profitable drugs and molecules are on the way," Beeker says in the film.

"They're in the mail right now."

Beeker is known to police and has been arrested for producing drugs. He is the subject of a new documentary titled Unstoppable: The Fentanyl Epidemic. (Robert Osborne/Unstoppable: The Fentanyl Epidemic)

Trying to stay ahead

Beeker's ominous words echo throughout the upcoming film, which will air Dec. 1 on CBC Television.

Another person featured is RCMP Cpl. Eric Boechler of B.C.'s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response Team. Boechler has had several run-ins with the notorious drug producer, and admits that his words are frustrating.

"I know Beeker — I've been involved in an operation where he's been arrested," he told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's BC Almanac.

"He's someone we definitely keep tabs on because we do know that, likely, he's going to get back into it."

Heroin addict Kevin Muchikekwanape shoots up at a pop-up safe injection site in Vancouver. (CBC)

In his role with the enforcement and response team, Boechler is at the forefront of B.C.'s opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 600 lives. He says it's an uphill battle as different compounds hit the streets.

"Unfortunately, it's bigger or worse every month. We're being deployed more and more than we ever have before to incidents across the province. We are seeing stronger, more potent analogs beyond what just fentanyl is ... more potent and dangerous compounds [are] coming out all the time."

Boechler says the RCMP is working to the best of its abilities.

"There's always emerging trends coming out. We are playing catch-up all the time, we're trying to get in front of whatever new compound may be coming out. Get it regulated as soon as we can, and prevent it from being put out on the street."

With files from CBC's BC Almanac

To listen to the full interview, click here