Fentanyl seized in Vernon drug bust; 19 people charged

RCMP Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy

VERNON – An undercover RCMP investigation at the end of 2016 ended with 19 people charged and the seizure of a variety of drugs including the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Police the investigation in November and December 2016 focused on drug trafficking groups in Vernon.

“When undercover operators purchased what they believed to be heroin it was later found to contain heroin, fentanyl, and mixtures of both which greatly increases the potency of an already highly toxic and dangerous drug,” Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy says in a media release.

Noseworthy says 19 people have been arrested and are facing a total of 30 drug trafficking charges. Six people remain in custody, six have been released on promises to appear in court at a later date and warrants have been issued for the arrest of seven others.

RCMP have not released any of the names of the accused or descriptions of the wanted fugitives. In most cases, the individuals were previously known to police, Noseworthy says. Most are from the North Okanagan, and police believe some have ties to Alberta. Of the 19, 17 are men and two are women. 

Police have not released the quantities of drugs seized, or how much they are worth, but Noseworthy says undercover officers made purchases ranging from a single dose, to half ounces.

“We believe it will make a dent,” Noseworthy says of the bust. “It’s on ongoing struggle to keep drugs off the street. We think it’s a good start.”

The operation reinforced what has been widely known and reported about the dangers illicit drug users face, Noseworthy says.

“Persons using illicit drugs do so without knowing what the drug actually contains and as a result put themselves, and potentially others, at significant risk,” she says.

— This story was updated at 10:17 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 to add additional information from Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

THOMPSON: Trump either guilty or innocent of being Putin pawn
  OPINION There is no midway point between guilt and innocence. One can be guilty or innocent. You cannot be a little bit guilty…or a little bit innocent. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. So, an

Top News