The dismantling of a fentanyl superlab south of Calgary, which was announced in early July, resulted in the seizure of more than 31 kilograms of fentanyl and precursors as well as 7,600 kilograms of chemicals used in the production of the drug, according to a provincial joint-forces agency.
The superlab was one of 13 search warrants carried out by Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) on July 7 as part of an ongoing investigation into fentanyl production, dubbed Project Essence, it said in a Tuesday release.
The Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, RCMP and clandestine laboratory response teams were involved in the effort, the agency said.
The lab was in Aldersyde, which is about 55 kilometres south of Calgary, while other search locations included homes and businesses in Calgary and Edmonton.
Several suspects were arrested at the superlab in July. ALERT says more arrests are pending.
In a followup release on Wednesday, ALERT said one kilogram of pure fentanyl is equal to one million doses, and a lethal dose is considered to be two milligrams.
"If sold on the street, the value of the drugs seized is over $300 million," the release said.
Officers also seized 18 handguns, one rifle, $25,000 in cash and jewelry, six vehicles, four motorcycles, three trailers and a boat. The assets were seized as proceeds of crime.
Project Essence began in February 2021 when ALERT learned of an attempt to import a 563-kg shipment of a chemical used in fentanyl production.
"The size and scale of Project Essence is unparalleled in the history of ALERT," Supt. Dwayne Lakusta said Wednesday at a news conference in Edmonton.
He said ALERT has made it a priority to cut off supply lines and target traffickers of illicit opioids, which are having a devastating impact on Alberta communities.
"Project Essence represents Alberta law enforcement's greatest success to date in the destruction of the illegal opioid market," he said.
Anyone who suspects drug and gang activity in their communities are encouraged to call local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).