B.C. police announce dismantling of drug-making and distribution ring with 8 arrests

SURREY, B.C. — Police in British Columbia say they have dismantled a "significant, sophisticated" criminal organization involved in manufacturing and distributing fentanyl-laced counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

Mounties in B.C. say the operation has led to the arrest of eight men in the Metro Vancouver communities of Surrey, Richmond and Delta, with several suspects having links to organized crime.

Police say one of the suspects was later found by federal authorities to have been linked to a "gang-related murder plot," resulting in a parallel investigation by homicide investigators and a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

According to the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety, the operation involving the RCMP's organized crime investigators, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and Abbotsford police led to the seizure of 356,000 counterfeit pills in addition to 168 kilograms of chemicals used for production.

Police say they have also seized four illegal firearms as part of the investigation and more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a statement that the seizure and arrests have "kept millions of potentially lethal doses of toxic drugs" from reaching communities while also disrupting violent gang conflicts in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press