Calgary

Fentanyl bust turns up thousands of pills as police arrest 11 suspects

Eight raids last week netted thousands of fentanyl pills and the arrest of 11 suspects police say are connected with much of the drug-related violence that has plagued Calgary this year.

Drug operations 'at core of much of the violence being seen in Calgary in the last year,' police say

Calgary police put on display some of the thousands of fentanyl pills and other illegal drugs seized in several raids last week. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Eight raids last week netted thousands of fentanyl pills and the arrest of 11 suspects police say are connected with the spate of drug-related violence that has plagued Calgary this year.

On Dec. 10, officers with the guns and gangs unit and the tactical team executed warrants at addresses and vehicles across the city.

Searches turned up 3,500 fentanyl pills, 58 Percocet pills, and varying amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, police say.

The drugs were worth more than $260,000 plus nearly $10,000 cash was found and a large amount of cutting agent and drug paraphernalia, police say.

This drug activity seems to be at the core of much of the violent crime seen in Calgary in the last year, said Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques.

"I can't give you numbers on how many shootings it's been tied to, but we believe these people have some sort of criminal association to a lot of the people who are involved in the actual gun violence," he said.

"There certainly seems to be a strong correlation between the groups that traffic in fentanyl and the violence. And I think it has something to do with the profitability of the fentanyl."

At one address — believed to be a stash location — police found 15 kilograms of cutting agent, as well as instruments used to produce drugs.

The 11 suspects were charged with numerous drug-related offences. Warrants are being sought for a 12th suspect who remains at large. 

High-potency pills seized in separate raids 

Following a separate police operation last week, four other men face dozens of charges in connection with the trafficking of fentanyl pills with two to three times the normal potency, police say.

Officers with the drug unit conducted search warrants on a vehicle and two residences in the northeast following an eight-week investigation, police say.

Officers seized 65 pills along with a quantity of marijuana, some cash, a baton and several cell phones.

Lab analysis of drugs obtained early in the investigation showed that the pills contained between 4.7 to 5.6 mg of fentanyl per tablet, police say.

"Although only a small amount of drugs was seized at the time, it is believed that the individuals involved had access to, and sold, a large amount of fentanyl," police said in a release.

Four men were arrested and face 38 charges related to trafficking, possession of the proceeds of crime and other offences.

Three of the suspects are set to appear in court on Dec. 18. The fourth will appear in court on Jan. 11, 2016.

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