Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, speaks from the Victoria police headquarters on Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, speaks from the Victoria police headquarters on Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria police seize fentanyl potent enough to kill more than half of Vancouver Island

Extreme concentrations a troublesome development in the ongoing opioid crisis: health officer

A kilogram of high-potency fentanyl seized in a Dallas Road parking lot last month has Victoria police and health officials on high alert.

In July, VicPD’s Strike Force unit started an operation targeting organized crime. In the months that followed, they discovered a supply chain of high-concentration fentanyl being trafficked within the city.

On Oct. 21, police made an arrest in the 0-block of Dallas Road associated to organized drug trafficking. During that arrest they seized one kilogram of controlled substance. Later analysis by Health Canada determined it had a concentration of 90 per cent fentanyl.

This kilogram of high-potency fentanyl seized from a Dallas Road parking lot last month has Victoria police and health officials on high alert. (Courtesy VicPD)

That suspect – and two others from Vancouver – are facing recommended drug trafficking-related charges.

The drugs had a street value of $1 million, and the power to deliver roughly 495,000 lethal doses. VicPD says the drugs would typically be cut down and sold to other dealers, who may break it down further and put it in supplies of opioids, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

“In that form, it would have made for many thousands and thousands and thousands of doses of fentanyl across the Island,” said VicPD Acting Inspector Conor King. Most samples police seize are 10 to 20 per cent.

“With this starting at 90 per cent concentration – that’s where the downstream effect is going to be extremely high concentration street-level doses.”

READ ALSO: Addiction ‘cuts both ways’ says judge sentencing fentanyl dealer with long history of drug charges

The seizure of such powerful drugs is a sign that more work is needed to battle the ongoing opioid crisis, said VicPD Chief Del Manak at a press conference Nov.5. “This crisis affects people from all walks of life, across all socio-economic groups. It reaches into our high schools, it reaches into our homes. It is killing our families and our friends.”

Canada-wide, 2020 has seen seven samples of fentanyl test above a 75 per cent concentration – a spike from 2019, when only one sample met that threshold.

Manak said the Victoria department supports safe supply and addictions treatment, but targeting organized crime groups is an important step to combating unsafe drugs.

“I can tell you that our work is not done,” Manak said. “We continue to need a better, more coordinated approach.”

Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, said extreme fentanyl concentrations are an emerging and troublesome development in the ongoing opioid crisis.

“This is not just something that’s abstract … it’s translating into people dying of this substance. So this is a very serious situation with a very toxic drug supply,” he said.

Victoria has had 102 overdose deaths this year, according to data from the BC Coroners Service, a 60.7 per cent increase from 2019, when 62 people were killed by illicit drugs in the city.

Overdose prevention sites are helping, Stanwick added, but they aren’t enough.

“To think that somehow we’re going to solve this overnight with a single maneuver, whether it’s political or public health or policing. I think it’s naive.”

As of Nov. 5, illicit drugs have killed at least 1,202 British Columbians in 2020, an increase of more than 560 per cent over a ten-year period.

READ ALSO: Victoria police seize fentanyl, more than $150,000-worth of cocaine


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Crimeopioid crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Most Read