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.

Crimeopioid crisis

Just Posted

The Port McNeill Fire Hall. (Port McNeill Fire Rescue photo)
Port McNeill Fire Rescue gets big financial boost from government

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom was thrilled by the funding announcement

The river behind the ball field. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Pulled by the flow: river stirs up childhood memories

Gazette editor makes trek through Port Hardy wilderness to swim in the river

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk at school and in the community was identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

The Comox Valley campus of North Island College. (File photo)
North Island College launches first Indigenous Plan

The plan signifies NIC’s commitment to become more Indigenous serving

Most Read