Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, speaks from the Victoria police headquarters on Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, speaks from the Victoria police headquarters on Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria police seize fentanyl potent enough to kill more than half of Vancouver Island

Extreme concentrations a troublesome development in the ongoing opioid crisis: health officer

A kilogram of high-potency fentanyl seized in a Dallas Road parking lot last month has Victoria police and health officials on high alert.

In July, VicPD’s Strike Force unit started an operation targeting organized crime. In the months that followed, they discovered a supply chain of high-concentration fentanyl being trafficked within the city.

On Oct. 21, police made an arrest in the 0-block of Dallas Road associated to organized drug trafficking. During that arrest they seized one kilogram of controlled substance. Later analysis by Health Canada determined it had a concentration of 90 per cent fentanyl.

This kilogram of high-potency fentanyl seized from a Dallas Road parking lot last month has Victoria police and health officials on high alert. (Courtesy VicPD)

That suspect – and two others from Vancouver – are facing recommended drug trafficking-related charges.

The drugs had a street value of $1 million, and the power to deliver roughly 495,000 lethal doses. VicPD says the drugs would typically be cut down and sold to other dealers, who may break it down further and put it in supplies of opioids, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

“In that form, it would have made for many thousands and thousands and thousands of doses of fentanyl across the Island,” said VicPD Acting Inspector Conor King. Most samples police seize are 10 to 20 per cent.

“With this starting at 90 per cent concentration – that’s where the downstream effect is going to be extremely high concentration street-level doses.”

READ ALSO: Addiction ‘cuts both ways’ says judge sentencing fentanyl dealer with long history of drug charges

The seizure of such powerful drugs is a sign that more work is needed to battle the ongoing opioid crisis, said VicPD Chief Del Manak at a press conference Nov.5. “This crisis affects people from all walks of life, across all socio-economic groups. It reaches into our high schools, it reaches into our homes. It is killing our families and our friends.”

Canada-wide, 2020 has seen seven samples of fentanyl test above a 75 per cent concentration – a spike from 2019, when only one sample met that threshold.

Manak said the Victoria department supports safe supply and addictions treatment, but targeting organized crime groups is an important step to combating unsafe drugs.

“I can tell you that our work is not done,” Manak said. “We continue to need a better, more coordinated approach.”

Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, said extreme fentanyl concentrations are an emerging and troublesome development in the ongoing opioid crisis.

“This is not just something that’s abstract … it’s translating into people dying of this substance. So this is a very serious situation with a very toxic drug supply,” he said.

Victoria has had 102 overdose deaths this year, according to data from the BC Coroners Service, a 60.7 per cent increase from 2019, when 62 people were killed by illicit drugs in the city.

Overdose prevention sites are helping, Stanwick added, but they aren’t enough.

“To think that somehow we’re going to solve this overnight with a single maneuver, whether it’s political or public health or policing. I think it’s naive.”

As of Nov. 5, illicit drugs have killed at least 1,202 British Columbians in 2020, an increase of more than 560 per cent over a ten-year period.

READ ALSO: Victoria police seize fentanyl, more than $150,000-worth of cocaine


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

opioid crisisOpioid DeathsVicPDVictoriaVictoria Police Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

Penny Hart is calling on the community to help find her son Sean Hart who was last seen on Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Search spreads for Saanich man missing from mental health facility for nearly a month

Family hopeful as possible sightings reported across Island and in Vancouver

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health issues apology over racist practices in health care system

Report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

Most Read