British Columbia

Fentanyl pills seized in massive Project Tainted drug bust in B.C.

After a spike in fentanyl-related deaths, police have seized 29,000 fentanyl pills and charged 10 people.

10 people charged after raids in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby

These pills, known as 'green beans,' are sold illegally to users as oxycodone, but are actually fentanyl mixed with caffeine and much more toxic. (Dan Burritt/CBC)

Vancouver Police and RCMP have seized more than 29,000 fentanyl pills, oxycodone, methamphetamine, heroin, and guns in a months-long investigation called "Project Tainted" aimed at disrupting the trade in fentanyl-laced drugs.

The investigation started in October 2014, as authorities were seeing a spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths across B.C., and ended with the arrest of 10 people police allege were distributing the drugs who now face 71 charges.

Fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic drug, was associated with a quarter of the more than 300 drug overdose deaths in B.C. last year.

Users often think they're taking other drugs, such as heroin or oxycodone, without realizing the substance has been laced with fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more toxic, according to police.

"The swathe of devastation and death that's been left in the wake of fentanyl-laced drugs is unprecedented for local health authorities and police," said VPD Superintendent Mike Porteous in a release.

On Feb. 17, police executed 11 search warrants in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and North Vancouver, seizing hundreds of thousands of pills, kilograms of cocaine, hash, and methamphetamine, vehicles, and a pill press.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this article said more than a 100 charges will be laid against the 12 people arrested. Police sent a news release correcting the information to 71 charges against 10 people.
    Mar 03, 2015 7:18 PM PT

With files from Dan Burritt

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