Source: British Columbia’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police

According to Global News, Royal Mounted Canadian Police in British Columbia (BC) announced drug trafficking charges against two Vancouver-area residents in connection with a massive shipment of drugs seized at the Port of Vancouver and in an apartment in Richmond. According to the BC’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), 132 kilograms (291 pounds) of cocaine and 40,000 fentanyl pills were seized.

The 17 month-long investigation started in February 2016 when U.S. authorities alerted RCMP of a shipment discovered at the Long Beach, California seaport bound for Vancouver. Inside a shipping container coming from Brazil, U.S. Customs and Border Protection found three rolling suitcases that held the cocaine. BC RCMP organized crime chief Cal Chrustie said, “We believe they were ‘tailgaiting.’ That’s when drug traffickers piggyback [on] a legitimate shipment of goods.”

When the ship docked in Vancouver, RCMP was waiting and arrested the two alleged drug traffickers after they picked up the suitcases at the port. RCMP obtained a search warrant for the apartment in Richmond and found additional evidence there, including 40,000 fentanyl pills and one kilogram of methamphetamine.

Yan Chau Lam, a.k.a. Andrew Lam, has been charged with one count of conspiring to import a controlled substance, contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, one count of conspiring to possess a controlled substance for purpose of trafficking, and three counts of unlawfully possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. Gertrude Cheong, a.k.a. Sok Wai Cheong, has been charged with one count of conspiring to possess a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

RCMP chief Chrustie said, “These seizures would definitely have impacted the transnational organized crime networks involved. Even more importantly, we believe that preventing these drugs from reaching our communities has undoubtedly saved countless lives.” According to Straight.com, 80% of fatal drug overdoses in British Columbia in the first seven months of 2017 involved fentanyl. It is estimated that 1,500 people will die from overdoses in the region this year.