Dark web fentanyl linked to U.S. sailor deaths came from B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Dark web fentanyl linked to U.S. sailor deaths came from B.C.

Police officer standing near Canada/U.S. border
Image Credit: B.C. RCMP

A B.C. man was indicted on federal charges in the U.S. for allegedly operating an international dark web drug organization linked to the opioid overdose deaths of two U.S. Navy servicemen.

In 2017, the B.C. RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime launched an organized crime investigation into an alleged international dark web drug trafficking vendor named Canada1. Through the course of the investigation, the vendor was connected to Thomas Michael Federuik of West Vancouver, and Paul Anthony Nicholls of Surrey, United Kingdom, according to the B.C. RCMP in a press release.

During a U.S. investigation into two separate fentanyl overdose deaths of U.S. Navy servicemen, American authorities found packaging material allegedly linking the deadly fentanyl to Canada1. The toxic fentanyl shipped from Canada to the two U.S. Navy petty officers in Kingsland, Georgia has been attributed to their deaths, according to RCMP.

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Based on a report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 26,690 opioid toxicity deaths between January 2016 and September 2021. The report further noted that the majority of deaths occurred in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario, with the toxicity of supply continuing to be a major driver of the crisis.

After linking Canada1 to a West Vancouver residence, B.C. RCMP officers were able to intercept several packages that were being shipped by Canada1, and determined the packages contained fentanyl.

In March 2018, investigators arrested Federuik and Nicholls at a West Vancouver residence and seized a large quantity of fentanyl. Investigators also discovered mail tracking slips that coincided with the fentanyl packaging material found by U.S. authorities. Having overstayed his visa, Nicholls was deported to the U.K. while the investigation continued, according to the RCMP.

Since the most serious offences had taken place in the United States, it was determined that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would take on the prosecution for this case and pursue the extradition of Federuik and Nicholls to stand trial in the Southern District of Georgia.

On May 24, the RCMP arrested Federuik on a provisional arrest warrant, while Nicholls was simultaneously arrested in the United Kingdom.

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The U.S. indictment alleges Federuik and Nicholls conspired to import drugs from China and Hungary, while using the business names East Van Eco Tours, and Bridge City Consulting LLP, to distribute the drugs across the U.S.

The indictment further alleges the fentanyl packaged by the two suspects was shipped from Canada to Georgia, leading to the overdose deaths of the two U.S. servicemen. Federuik and Nicholls are currently awaiting extradition proceedings to appear in court in the Southern District of Georgia, U.S.

"Every single life claimed by the toxic opioid crisis leaves an untold number of loved ones in perpetual grief and anguish," B.C. RCMP Supt. Richard Bergevin said in the release. 

"We share their pain, and remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting communities within and beyond our borders from the deadly pipeline of toxic opioids."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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