RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers seized a tonne of opium as part of a joint operation at Deltaport last month.
In early February, after several months of investigation, officers from the RCMP’s Federal Serious & Organized Crime (FSOC) division and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) executed a general warrant on two freight containers to locate a shipment of drugs from overseas.
Officers discovered 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium, each weighing 400 grams, for a total of 1,000 kilograms. The opium was seized and replaced with a placebo in order to allow the investigation to continue without further risk to the public.
On Feb. 11, the containers were picked up and transported to a warehouse in Surrey, where members of the FSOC major projects team arrested five men: a 34-year-old from Vancouver and four men from Ontario aged 25, 28, 32 and 37.
A sixth man fled the scene and evaded capture by police.
“The RCMP takes very seriously any substance that threatens the safety and security of Canadians,” Supt. Richard Bergevin, officer in charge of FSOC’s major projects in B.C., said in a press release. “This operation is just one example of many successful collaborations between the RCMP and the CBSA combating the importation of illicit drugs by organized crime groups that care nothing about the harm they cause.”
No charges have yet been laid and the investigation is ongoing.
According to an RCMP release, opium is collected from the dried milky fluid that comes from incisions made on the immature seed pods of the opium poppy. It can be used in its raw form or chemically processed to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids.
The release states that despite being the substance from which opioids are derived, heroin and fentanyl are far more commonly seized by police due mainly to their increased potency compared to opium.