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

News Bulletin file photo
Wrong set of golf clubs given away outside Nanaimo thrift store

Family spreading word about mistake in hopes clubs might be returned to them

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a hit-and-run incident outside the 7-Eleven store at University Village Mall Feb. 3. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP speak to people of interest in hit-and-run investigation

Police continuing to investigate Feb. 3 incident in Harewood

(News Bulletin file)
Wellington, Ladysmith secondary schools latest with COVID-19 cases

NDSS and Bayview Elementary also experienced exposures, says SD68

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read