Tonne of illegally imported opium seized in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tonne of illegally imported opium seized in B.C.

Around 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium were seized while being illegally imported into Canada last month through a joint operation involving RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / RCMP
March 29, 2021 - 11:12 AM

Around 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium were seized while being illegally imported into Canada last month through a joint operation involving RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers.

In early February, after several months of investigation, officers from the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime and the Canada Border Services Agency executed a general warrant on two freight containers to locate a shipment of drugs from overseas, RCMP said in a press release issued March 29.

Officers discovered 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium, each weighing 400 grams, for a total of 1,000 kgs. This literal tonne of opium was seized and replaced with a placebo in order to allow the investigation to continue without further risk to Canadians.

On Feb. 11, the containers were picked up and transported to a warehouse in Surrey. There, members of the FSOC Major Projects team arrested 5 men.

"The RCMP takes very seriously any substance that threatens the safety and security of Canadians," Supt Richard Bergevin, Officer in Charge of Federal Serious & Organized crime Major Projects in B.C. said in the release.

"This operation is just one example of many successful collaborations between the RCMP and the CBSA combatting the importation of illicit drugs by organized crime groups that care nothing about the harm they cause."

The men arrested include a 34-year-old Vancouver man; a 25-year-old Ontario man; a 28-year-old Ontario man; a 32 year-old Ontario man; and a 37-year-old Ontario man. A sixth male fled the scene and evaded capture by police.

Opium is collected from the dried milky fluid that comes from incisions made on the immature seed pods of the opium poppy. It can be used in its raw form or chemically processed to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids. Despite being the substance from which opioids are derived, heroin and fentanyl are far more commonly seized by police, due mainly to their increased potencies compared to opium. Of course, it’s this very same reason that is a major contributing factor to our current opioid overdose crisis in Canada.

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have yet been laid.


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