Drugs and guns displayed by Surrey RCMP on Thursday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

CRIME

PHOTOS: ‘Massive’ drug seizure in Surrey linked to Lower Mainland gang conflict

It’s linked to Brothers Keepers which is known for drug trafficking and ‘violent, criminal activity’: police

RCMP say a “massive” drug seizure has led to the dismantling of a “clandestine lab” in South Surrey that’s linked to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.

On Aug. 6, according to Surrey RCMP, police executed a search warrant on a house in the 16300-block of 14A Avenue as part of an ongoing investigation.

The items seized during a recent drug search warrant by police were on display at the Surrey RCMP Main Detachment on Thursday (Aug. 15), at a news conference.

Inspector Mike Hall, proactive enforcement officer, said police found a “significant” drug manufacturing operation at the home, adding that police seized a “large quantity” of drugs, equipment and weapons.

He said some of the drugs were in bulk, while others were packaged for “street level distribution,” adding that preliminary tests “also indicate the presence of fentanyl.”

The items seized included 63,000 doses of fake oxycontin ‘80’ pills; 94,000 doses of fake percocet pills; 5,000 doses of suspected cocaine; 22,500 doses of fake heroin; 200 doses of suspected methamphetamine; 89 kg of an “unknown cutting agent” and 60 kg of a “pill-binding agent”; three pill presses; and seven semi-automatic rifles, including five SKS, one 0.40-calibre and one carbine.

“Each of these pill presses can produce between 3,600 and 16,00 tablets per hour. Tablet production labs, like this one, pose a risk of contamination of hazardous substances,” Hall said.

READ ALSO: Police seize ‘substantial amount of illicit drugs’ at Surrey home, Feb. 28, 2019

READ ALSO: Surrey Mounties seize drugs, weapons, cash, May 16, 2019

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP seize drugs, weapons, expensive vehicles, May 7, 2019

Because of the risks, Hall said the Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response Team (CLEAR) were brought in to help with the search warrant. Hall said CLEAR is a federal support unit based at RCMP headquarters, which “assists in investigating and safely dismantling clandestine drug labs.”

CLEAR Team NCO Derek Westwick said the public safety risks associated with these types of “large-scale illicit drug operations cannot be understated.”

“Clandestine labs pose a significant risk of contamination due to the volume of toxic and hazardous chemicals being handled by untrained individuals.”

Westwick said this drug bust is “significant.”

The fact that you have this volume of tablets being produced just locally and in an urban neighborhood, I was quite surprised to see the quantities there given the operation itself. It’s not surprising to see this type of equipment; there’s lots out there.”

Hall said so far through the investigation, there are links to the Brothers Keepers gang, which is “known for drug trafficking and is associated to violent, criminal activity throughout the Lower Mainland.”

“Based on the sophistication and capacity of this operation to produce massive of street-level drugs, we believe that a large criminal network is associated to this lab,” he said. “This seizure represents a significant blow to the drug trade in the Lower Mainland. Drug operations like this are a direct threat to public safety due to the distribution of potentially fatal drugs and the ongoing violence associated with them.”

Two people were arrested during the search, Hall said, but later released. He said that given the “size and scope” of the operation, the investigation and any potential charges “will take time.”

“The risk of not acting and not seizing this material, far outweighed the risk of leaving it and continuing with the investigation.”

READ ALSO: Police identify victim in South Surrey drive-thru shooting, Aug. 3, 2019

READ ALSO: Two men charged after Hells Angel shot dead in South Surrey, Aug. 4, 2019

READ ALSO: Suspects appear in court after Hells Angel murdered in South Surrey, Aug. 6, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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