Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff Red Deer RCMP Sgt. Robert Schultz talks to Mayor Tara Veer about one of the biggest drug busts in Red Deer history. A huge quantity of drugs, cash and photos of weapons were displayed at the downtown RCMP detachment.

Red Deer RCMP make their biggest ever fentanyl bust

Drugs and other items seized in drug operation will be on display on Monday

  • Sep. 20, 2019 10:00 a.m.

Red Deer RCMP say they have made their biggest fentanyl bust ever.

Three people are facing 22 charges after police acted on three search warrants during a drug operation this summer.

Police are holding a news conference Monday morning to provide more information and display the items seized.

The latest drug bust follows a number of successful operations by RCMP.

In June, Red Deer RCMP, along with other police agencies, arrested four people — two in central Alberta and two in Calgary — in connection with a bust that saw $300,000 in drugs, cash and weapons seized following an investigation that began in March.

Police seized about 300 grams of cocaine, 10 fentanyl pills and more than $17,000 in cash in Red Deer.

Calgary was the site of the largest haul of drugs, including 825 fentanyl pills, 75 OxyContin tablets, about 1.5 kilograms of cannabis, 600 grams of cocaine, 19 grams of fentanyl powder, 521 grams of methamphetamine, 254 grams of ecstasy, a rifle, a shotgun and more than $48,000 in cash.

Last August and September, police laid 50 charges against three people after an investigation saw 10.5 kilograms of cocaine, fentanyl, ketamine and methamphetamine seized from residences in central and southern Alberta.

As well, nine weapons, including a Mac11 submachine gun, and $61,000 in cash were uncovered.

Fentanyl is one of the most toxic opioids — 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine — and has killed thousands across Canada in the past few years.

Illegal fentanyl sold on the street is much more toxic than pharmaceutical versions. Often sold as a powder, it is frequently cut with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and crack, greatly increasing the risk of accidental overdose.

It is also sometimes pressed into pills that look similar to oxycontin or percocet, further boosting the risk of accidental overdose.

Since the beginning of January 2016 to the end of 2018, Canada’s opioid crisis has killed 11,500 people, many of them victims of contaminated illegal drugs.

Alberta Health reported 137 fentanyl-related deaths through the first three months of this year. Eighteen of those occurred in the central zone, including two in Red Deer.

Staff at Red Deer’s overdose prevention site responded to nearly 600 opioid overdoses — 48 requiring an ambulance — from Oct. 1, 2018, to June 20.

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