KELOWNA – A Kelowna couple have been arrested for allegedly running an international fentanyl trafficking operation over the internet.
“Project E-Neophile” began in September 2016 when police began investigating a 35-year-old Kelowna man and a 28-year-old Kelowna woman suspected of using the dark web to import bulk quantities of fentanyl and a similar drug from overseas, according to an RCMP media release.
RCMP say once the drugs were in the country they were then trafficked throughout Canada and internationally to the United States, Australia and Europe, via the internet.
Sgt. Alex Lynch of the Kelowna RCMP calls it one of the most significant and sophisticated fentanyl importation and trafficking enterprises uncovered in Canada to date.
The suspects were seen mailing packages to various destinations across North America through a secret online marketplace.
On August 10, 2017, Kelowna RCMP and Calgary Police Cybercrime Support Team, along with assistance from the Canadian Border Service Agency, Canadian Postal Inspectors, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Drug Enforcement Agency, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force, obtained and executed back to back search warrants at a Kelowna area business in the 1500 block of Pandosy Street and a home in the 1100 block of Loseth Drive.
Arrests were made at both locations.
“As many as 25 packages suspected of containing fentanyl or carfentanil, destined for Canadian, American, European and Australian cities, were intercepted by authorities,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says in the media release. “In addition, two unsecured firearms were seized from the residence along with approximately $68,000 USD in Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin is a popular, untraceable currency used online.
RCMP also seized in excess of 120 grams of bulk suspected fentanyl and suspected carfentanil, and over three kilograms of unknown powders and substances that have yet to be identified.
O’Donaghey says information they shared with American law enforcement resulted in the seizure of additional quantities of fentanyl, carfentanil, cash and other controlled substances.
The two suspects are expected to appear in court on Dec. 8, 2017.
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