Edmonton police seize thousands of fentanyl pills disguised as Xanax

Four people are facing a combined 23 charges after Edmonton police seized more than 3,700 pills believed to be a variant of the deadly opioid fentanyl, disguised as Xanax — a mild pharmaceutical tranquilizer.

'They may not be ingesting what they think they are'

Police made four arrests after seizing street drugs disguised as Xanax. (Edmonton police)

Edmonton police issued a dire warning Wednesday after the gang unit seized more than 3,700 pills, thought to be a variant of the deadly opioid fentanyl, disguised as the mild pharmaceutical tranquilizer Xanax.

"Police continue to find fentanyl and its analogs in various forms, including illicit pills designed to look like prescription medication," said Staff Sgt. Pierre Blais with the Edmonton Drug and Gang Section.

"People who use street drugs must understand that they may not be ingesting what they think they are, which could lead to serious harm or even death."

The stash of pills was uncovered on Sept. 20 when officers with the drug and gang unit launched a co-ordinated raid on four Edmonton properties and one vehicle.

During the bust, police searched two properties in Windermere, one in the MacEwan neighbourhood and another in the Davies Industrial area, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

They may not be ingesting what they think they are. - Staff Sgt Pierre Blais

Police officers raided four Edmonton properties and discovered pills, ketamine, cocaine and MDMA. (Fentanyl analog disguised as Xanax)

The fake Xanax pills have an approximate street value of more than $151,000, police said.

Officers also seized more than 900 grams of ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, with an approximate street value of $29,250, along with 355 grams of MDMA, more than 200 grams of cocaine and 375 grams of the pain-killer Phenacetin.

Police also recovered $12,600 in cash.

When the investigation began in March, officers initially focused on one Edmonton man, police said. But during the months-long investigation, three additional suspects and four addresses within the city were identified.

Four people, all in their mid-20s, now face a combined 23 charges, including drug trafficking and possession.