Kelowna Mounties are recommending criminal charges against four suspects after raiding two West Kelowna properties Wednesday.
The RCMP were advised by Canada Border Services Agency Dec.12 of the interception of a package being imported from overseas which contained a piece of pharmaceutical equipment. The package was destined for a location in West Kelowna addressed to a man known to police.
“Through inventive investigational tactics the Kelowna RCMP Street Enforcement Unit, who partnered with the West Kelowna RCMP, and other RCMP Specialized Sections continued their investigation which expanded to involve a second location,” said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey, in a press release.
The RCMP executed a search warrant March 2 at a commercial property in the 2600 block of Auburn Crescent with the assistance of the RCMP’s Federal Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response Team, the West Kelowna Fire Department and the BC Ambulance Service.
The search warrant on Auburn Crescent yielded the following seizures:
- An estimated 500 “fake” Percocet and OxyContin pills;
- 195 grams of powder suspected to be Fentanyl;
- 2 industrial pill presses in which police believe each have the capacity of producing approx. 2500 pills per hour;
- Chemical mixer, which showed significant signs of use;
- 8 kg of suspected Fentanyl powder recovered from a shop vacuum believed to be used to clean up after pill production;
A second search warrant was also executed at a rural property in the 700 block of Petterson Road in West Kelowna.
- An estimated 800 “fake” OxyContin pills suspected to be laced with Fentanyl;
- Several gold bars, which police suspect may be related to a reported theft.
The following items were seized as proceeds of crime:
- An estimated $40,000 in cash;
- A Dodge pickup truck with an approximate value of $60,000;
- A Cadillac Escalade with an approximate value of $50,000;
“Police estimate that this operation has potentially produced hundreds of thousands of pills, likely distributed locally and possibly beyond,” said Sgt. Alex Lynch NCO/ic of the Kelowna RCMP SEU.
After the nearly three month long investigation, four individuals are facing potential charges, a 37-year-old man & a 26-year-old woman both of West Kelowna, as well as a 29-year-old Kelowna man and a 25-year-old Calgary man. The list of charges include possession of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking, production of a controlled substance, and importation of a controlled substance.
“The execution of these search warrants by the Kelowna RCMP Street Enforcement Team and West Kelowna RCMP will have a serious impact in the counterfeit production and distribution of Fentanyl laced pills,” said Sgt. Alex Lynch. “The RCMP are committed to continue to target these illegal Clandestine Labs which pose significant risks to their communities,” adds Lynch.
The Kelowna RCMP SEU have also been successful in shutting down other similar illegal drug operations throughout the Kelowna Region over the past few months:
- File #2015-61383 On November 2, 2015 the Kelowna RCMP SEU intercepted an imported package destined for an address in the 1500 block of Pandosy Street in Kelowna. The package contained 24.5 grams of Fentanyl.
- File #2015-68300 On December 17, 2015 the Kelowna RCMP SEU executed a search warrant at the property located in the 400 block of Neave Court in Kelowna. The search yielded an industrial grade pill press, which investigators say showed signs of use as it was believed to be heavily contaminated with Fentanyl, and a loaded firearm. As a result of this investigation a 22-year-old Kelowna woman and a 28-year-old West Kelowna man each face potential charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of importing a schedule six substance, production for the purpose of trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, as well as possession and unsafe storage of a firearm.
- File #2016-5357 On March 2nd, 2016 the Kelowna RCMP SEU executed a search warrant at a property located in the 11000 block of Cemetary Road in Lake Country, as well as another at a property in the 300 block of Sandpiper Road in Kelowna. These searches yielded various amounts and types of illegal drugs, several firearms, including a loaded .45 calibre hand gun, multiple stolen bicycles and a set of brass knuckles. A 56-year-old Lake Country man faces potential charges of trafficking in a controlled substance as well as a firearms related offence.