Surrey RCMP announced Thursday a “major” bust of a drug lab that was capable of producing dozens of kilograms of pure fentanyl.
Spokesperson Elenore Sturko said police found the “sophisticated” lab in the 1900 block of McLean Avenue in Port Coquitlam. It contained 37 kilograms of precursor chemicals associated with fentanyl production. Such an amount of chemicals, said Sturko, could produce 26 kilograms of fentanyl — good for 13 million two-milligram doses.
The bust comes amid public gang violence over the past two months, while reaching new highs over the past two weeks with the murder of a corrections officer in Delta and the daytime slaying of a gang member at Vancouver International Airport.
Sturko said RCMP are not under-resourced to handle the situation despite a three-year hiring freeze due to the city’s transition to a municipal police force.
“It would be nice to add additional officers to our complement,” she said.
Sturko said overall crime has gone down in Surrey over the past year.
Asked what police need to handle the flare-up of violence, Sturko and Corporal John Hartnett of the RCMP Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response Team stressed public vigilance and further commitments by gang units.
Police did not say if the lab was directly associated with any one gang.
Asked if the drug supply has been pinched due to the pandemic, Hartnett said it has been “a bit of yes, a bit of no.”
On the one hand, police are encountering just as many labs, while there is some evidence the drug supply has been affected.
Asked where the chemicals are coming from, Hartnett said it is a combination of domestic chemicals being diverted and imports from several countries but primarily China and India.