According to Huffington Post Canada, police in Edmonton, Alberta announced the seizure of 130,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl from multiple residences in the area, including one home converted into a fentanyl pill processing lab. The investigation began in March and is believed to be the largest opioid seizure in Canada’s history. Staff Sgt. Karen Ockerman with the Edmonton Police Service’s drug and gang unit said, “We know that this drug bust is very significant and we believe that we have saved a number of lives by taking all this fentanyl off the streets.”
In addition to the fake fentanyl pills, police also seized four ounces of carfentanil, cash, a truck with a hidden compartment for transporting drugs, four cement mixers and two pill presses. Police believe the cement mixers were used to mix the fentanyl in with other ingredients to be pressed into pills. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Jason Wells said that the two pill presses were capable of making a total of 10,000 pills in one hour.
As reported in The Star, Canada is battling its own opioid epidemic, involving both prescription and illicit opioids. The provinces of British Columbia and Alberta have been hit particularly hard with overdose deaths. CBC News recently reported on a statement from Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson: “The near-record number of drug overdose deaths in the fentanyl crisis is a bloodbath in all corners of Vancouver with no end in sight.”
Also reported by CBC News, authorities in Alberta reported 343 deaths from fentanyl in their province during 2016. Police in Edmonton know there are more labs out there, with Staff Sgt. Karen Ockerman adding, “but we think this made a difference.”