June 10, 2016 - 10:35 AM
WEST KELOWNA – Two West Kelowna residents have been charged in connection with the RCMP raid of a warehouse in West Kelowna where a large number of fentanyl-laced pills were produced.
Leslie John McCulloch, 38, and Rebekka Rae White, 27, have been charged with production and possession of a controlled substance. Court documents list the offence date as March 1, 2016, the day before RCMP executed search warrants on two properties in West Kelowna.
On March 2, local RCMP executed a search warrant at a commercial property on the 2600-block of Auburn Crescent where they found an estimated 500 'fake' Percocet and OxyContin pills, 195 grams of suspected fentanyl, two industrial pill presses capable of making 2,500 pills per hour and a chemical mixer. Police also found approximately eight kilograms of suspected fentanyl powder in a shop vacuum.
The address was listed as Kandy and Krome Kustoms. Although there is no active business licence, it has been linked to McCulloch.
In a joint raid March 2 police also searched a rural property on the 700-block of Petterson Road in West Kelowna where they found approximately 800 fake OxyContin pills suspected to be laced with Fentanyl and several gold bars believed to be related to a reported theft.
RCMP confirmed at the time that four people were arrested but would not release their names pending an investigation.
White is also charged with two additional counts of possession of a controlled substance on the same date.
They first appeared in court June 9.
Fentanyl-laced drugs have become a serious threat in the Thompson-Okanagan recently. Through April 30, fentanyl was detected alone or with other drugs in 56 per cent of overdoses, according to the B.C. Coroner's Service. Only 31 per cent were linked to fentanyl during the same period last year.
There were 308 deaths linked to illicit drug overdoses between January and May 2016 — up 75 per cent over the same period last year when there were 176 deaths, according to a media release from the coroners service.
One Kelowna father died earlier this year after taking a drug he thought was heroin but a coroner's report says it was pure fentanyl.
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