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Record Opium Seizure Valued at $8 Million in Port of Vancouver

record opium seizure at Port of Vancouver
Opium seized at the Port of Vancouver (Canada Border Services Agency)

By The Maritime Executive 03-30-2021 04:37:26

Canadian authorities recently completed one of the largest opium seizures on record with an estimated value of nearly $8 million. The smuggling operation, which was importing the drugs through the Port of Vancouver, was broken up in an elaborate sting operation by the Canadian Border Services Agency and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

After several months of investigation, the agencies targeted the container terminals in Canadian’s busiest port. Officers from the RCMP and CBSA executed a general warrant on two containers that had arrived from overseas and were at the port of Vancouver. Using a wide range of detection tools and technology and detector dogs, the officers examined the two containers to locate a shipment of drugs. They discovered 2,500 individual packages of suspected opium, each weighing 400 grams, for a total of 1,000 kgs.

“This seizure demonstrates the remarkable partnership the CBSA and the RCMP have when it comes to preventing illicit drugs from entering Canada and ensuring the safety and security of Canadians every day,” said Yvette-Monique Gray, Director, Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Division, Pacific Region, Canada Border Services Agency, announcing the details of the operation at the port.

In the second phase of the operation, the agencies replaced the smuggled narcotics with a placebo to allow the investigation to continue. They reported that the containers were picked up at the port on February 11, and officers followed them while they were transported to a warehouse in Surrey, British Columbia.

After the containers arrived at the warehouse, members of the RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Major Projects team arrested five men at the scene. A sixth male fled and evaded capture by police.

"The RCMP takes very seriously any substance that threatens the safety and security of Canadians," said Supt Richard Bergevin, Officer in Charge of Federal Serious & Organized crime Major Projects in BC. "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."

Canadian authorities declined to reveal the origin of the drugs or the details about which ship transported them and the port of origin. They noted that the investigation is ongoing and no charges have yet been filed.