Two people involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict have been arrested following a drug and cash seizure that the Vancouver Police Department described as one of the biggest they've had in recent years.
Police say about six weeks ago they began investigating a "significant" drug line that they believe was supplying drugs throughout the city and was related to a high-profile gang. Police did not identify which gang as the investigation remains ongoing.
Late last month, detectives say they found 13 kilograms of fentanyl, 11 kilograms of crystal meth, eight kilograms of benzodiazepine and five kilograms of cocaine, along with a hydraulic press used for packaging drugs, a rifle, a replica handgun and $320,000 in cash, at units in two condo buildings in downtown Vancouver.
Police also identified a taxi that was being used to deliver drugs. They said they were unable to publicly identify the company the taxi is associated with.
A 52-year-old Burnaby man and a 21-year-old Vancouver man were arrested and interviewed. They have since been released pending further investigation, but Supt. Lisa Byrne said they expect there will be criminal charges.
Byrne said finding a drug operation of this size in a residential condo building is a "very dangerous situation."
"When we have this type of operation in a condo building here, you can get contamination in your pipes, hallways, et cetera. Fentanyl, obviously, is a major concern for us," she said during a press conference.
The arrests follow months of gang violence in the Lower Mainland. More than 20 gang-related homicides have been recorded so far in 2021.
More prosecutors hired
Over the past five years, the federal government has provided more than $30 million in funding toward tackling gang violence in the province. Of that, $3.65 million was put toward recruitment and operation of the B.C. Prosecution Service's organized crime unit.
Since 2020, five new prosecutors and two other support staff have been hired to work with the unit, increasing its capacity to handle gang- and gun-related crimes.
"We need to make sure the B.C. Prosecution Service is well staffed to tackle these complex cases," said David Eby, Attorney General. "These seven new personnel mean there are additional resources dedicated to the fair and effective prosecution of gang and organized crime files."