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Vancouver police bust crime ring selling fentanyl-laced pills in Downtown Eastside

Three arrested after $3 million in drugs, weapons and cash seized
FILE - Vancouver police say a sophisticated crime ring was lacing Percocet pills with fentanyl to get people addicted. The department has arrested three people believed to have been involved in the trafficking, since the police investigation began in November 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Over 70 kilograms of fake fentanyl-laced pills are among the $3 million in drugs, weapons and cash the Vancouver Police Department says it recently seized from a sophisticated crime ring.

The department says it first started its investigation into the group in November 2021, working off the belief that they were lacing Percocet pills with fentanyl and selling them on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. VPD says it also believed the group was selling and shipping the pills throughout the province.

Percocet is an opioid regularly prescribed to people who have moderate to severe pain, and is safe when used at prescribed dosages. Once laced though, the pills become highly addictive and potentially fatal, VPD says.

In October, the department’s investigation culminated in a series of search warrants. Officers found and seized 72 kilograms of the fentanyl-laced pills, 16.5 kilograms of cocaine, 88 kilograms of cutting agents, as well as methamphetamine, MDMA and benzodiazepine. In total, the department says the drugs would have gone for around $3 million if sold.

Investigators also seized three handguns, ammunition, body armour and $123,000 in cash. Three people were arrested as a result.

VPD says it expects multiple charges will be laid by the end of its investigation.

READ ALSO: Police drawing out porch pirates with bait packages in one B.C. city

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