An investigation was launched after a spike in fatal drug overdoses occurred in late October, including five suspected overdose deaths in one day. The DEU targeted high-level drug trafficking rings which supply fentanyl and other drugs to local dealers.
On November 23, officers executed search warrants on a residence, storage lockers and three vehicles, where $46,000 in cash, weapons, drugs and other evidence consistent with drug trafficking was seized.
Approximately two kilograms of drugs were seized, including quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and MDMA (ecstacy), as well as six kilograms of precursors used in the production of methamphetamine and MDMA. Lab analysis has confirmed the presence of carfentanil (an opioid 100 times more potent than fentanyl) in some of the drugs seized, and that quantities of the cocaine had been contaminated with fentanyl.
“These arrests will have a significant impact on the drug trade in our downtown core. The presence of fentanyl and carfentanil in drugs is a clear indication that drug dealers have no regard for human life, and that they are only concerned with making a profit”, said Inspector Tom Chesley, Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Branch.
Charges laid include possession for the purpose of trafficking (“PPT”) in fentanyl, cocaine, MDMA and methamphetamine, and various weapons-related offences.
Five individuals were arrested during this investigation:
• Brian Vincent MacDonald, 53, charged with eight counts of PPT. MacDonald is known to the Abbotsford Police and has an extensive criminal history. He has five previous convictions for PPT, most recently in 2015.
• Jason Clifford Richardson, 45, charged with two counts of PPT.
• Bryan Howell, 36, arrested on numerous outstanding Alberta warrants for fraud-related charges.
• One female and one male were released, with charges currently pending.
Carfentanil and fentanyl are highly toxic synthetic opioids which have been attributed to the record number of fatal overdoses in our city. Opioid use kills, and unless checked, will continue to kill both the experienced and the novice drug user, said police.
The APD has numerous drug use prevention resources on its website (http://www.abbypd.ca/illegal-drugs), including helpline numbers and links to information for both youth and parents.