Police discover $3.6M in drugs in 'largest seizure of fentanyl in Niagara history'

The Niagara Regional Police Service says it's uncovered $3.6 million in drugs as part of the largest seizure of fentanyl in Niagara history.

St. Catharines man, 56, faces drug trafficking and production charges

Police say the "illicit pills were packaged in bottles intended to look like legitimate prescription medications and pose the threat of serious harm or death." (Niagara Regional Police Service)

The Niagara Regional Police Service says it's uncovered $3.6 million in drugs as part of the largest seizure of fentanyl in Niagara history. One man has been arrested and faces several drug trafficking charges. 

The service's major drug and gang unit, as well as its intelligence unit, has been pursuing the investigation since January, the service said in a media release.

Detectives had identified a man, police say, who was involved in a traffic stop with Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) on Feb. 4.

Police say the man was driving 160 km/h in a 100 km/h zone on the QEW in Lincoln. The OPP stopped him for alleged stunt driving. 

Police searched his vehicle and say they found 1,025 fentanyl tablets, 25 grams of cocaine and $1,400 in currency.

'Massive fentanyl pill production'

Detectives at the major drug and gang unit executed warrants at multiple residences:

  • One in the area of Rykert Street and Louth Street in St. Catharines. 
  • Another in the area of Prince William Street and Queen Victoria Avenue in Lincoln.
  • A third in the area of Scholfield Road and Olden Avenue in Niagara Falls.

At the Niagara Falls home, police say they found a "massive fentanyl pill production operation." Officers say the residence's double garage had been "extensively modified to accommodate an industrial size pill press."

Police say there was an industrial size pill press in the double garage of the residence. (Niagara Regional Police Service)

Detectives say they seized more than 181 kilograms (400 pounds) of an unknown powder, 100 kilograms of cutting agents, 20,000 fentanyl pills, 160 grams of cocaine and $150,000 in equipment.

Police estimate the street value of the seized drugs at approximately $3.6 million, and say it's the largest seizure of fentanyl in Niagara history.

The OPP's clandestine lab investigation response team was called to help safely dismantle the site because of the large amount of fentanyl and other materials present. 

The illicit pills had been packaged in bottles "intended to look like legitimate prescription medications." Officers say the pills pose the threat of serious harm or death. 

Drug trafficking, production charges

A 56-year-old man from St. Catharines was arrested and faces several charges.  These include two counts of possessing fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, one count of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and possessing proceeds of crime under $5,000.

He has also been charged with production under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. 

The Niagara Regional Police Services says it has been investigating the case since January. (Niagara Regional Police Service)

The man was being held in custody as of Saturday, pending a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 9, via video at the Robert S.K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines.

Bryan MacCulloch, chief of police, said in the release that he was "immensely proud of the collaborative policing effort that has resulted in the substantial removal of these illicit and deadly drugs from the streets of Niagara."

Niagara police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 905-688-4111, ext. 1009346.