Thunder Bay

'Pure poison': Thunder Bay, Ont., fentanyl bust saved lives, police say

Thunder Bay police say the seizure of more than a pound of fentanyl this week prevented overdoses in the city.

More than a pound of fentanyl found in city apartment

Thunder Bay police seized more than a pound of fentanyl from a south-side apartment this week. (Thunder Bay Police Service)

Thunder Bay police say the seizure of more than a pound of fentanyl this week prevented overdoses in the city.

"I know that we've saved some lives," Thunder Bay police Det. Insp. John Fennell said.

The seizure was made in a Brodie Street apartment on Wednesday afternoon.

A police investigation into drug trafficking led officers to execute a search warrant at the apartment, where they found about 1.2 pounds of fentanyl, about $15,000 in cash, and items consistent with drug trafficking.

A man and woman from Thunder Bay, and a man from Toronto, face charges.

"Fentanyl is very unpredictable, because it can be cut with anything," Fennell said. "Really, a human being can only handle about three per cent of the narcotic, and we've had situations where there's about 13 per cent, which is, unfortunately, fatal."

"It's a pure poison, in our eyes."

Fennell said the amount of fentanyl seized has a street value of about $400,000.

"The major significance … would be the costs of the overdoses that we would have had to respond to," he said. "The cost of the paramedics that would have had to assist with those, the hospitalization that would have went with it, and unfortunately, some of the deaths that also come with it, the cost of those investigations."

Fennell noted the seizure was made in an apartment in a building that's also inhabited by seniors, as well, rather than a "typical," run-down trap house.

Another drug seizure of fentanyl was recently made in a similar building on the city's north side.

"These are very established, very nice places," he said. "There is a new trend, and it's very concerning."

"It's one more barrier, where they're trying to always stay ahead of the police," Fennell said. "The general public wouldn't suspect it to be there, and the police wouldn't expect it to be there."

Fennell said fentanyl dealers will continue to operate until the risk outweighs the reward.

"There is a great deal of money to be made with this," he said. "The only way that we would, right now, be able to see an ending is the people that are selling this stuff taking significant sentences."

"If they can make a couple of hundred thousand dollars in a year, and they get three, six months' worth of sentencing, that's not a deterrent," he said. "You have to make it significant, that people are scared or choose not to do it, because it's not worth the risk."

Fennell said information from the public is critical in police investigations into drug trafficking, and trap houses.

"We accumulate as much information as we can get to be able to get that judicial authorization," he said. "Please, continue to give us tips."