‘It’s lethal’: Fentanyl so toxic RCMP show media only photos at news conference – Edmonton

Two of the deadliest drugs on the streets are so toxic that Alberta RCMP at a news conference Thursday only showed the media photographs of the fentanyl and carfentanil seized in a recent bust.

The bust, which police say involved drugs worth a street value of $700,000, was conducted by officers from Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Enoch Cree First Nation, west of Edmonton. The RCMP netted several kilograms of drugs, ranging from carfentanil and fentanyl to ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, hashish and magic mushrooms, along with handguns and a cash-counting machine.

At the news conference in the Stony Plain detachment, police covered several tables with plastic bags of marijuana, hash, ecstasy and cash.

“You’ll note that we supplied only the photos of the fentanyl and carfentanil tablets we seized,” said RCMP Insp. Rob Hill. “The reason for this is that they are currently packaged in a safe manner, which wouldn’t allow you to see the contents. And frankly, they don’t belong out on the table, given the toxicity of the contents.”

RCMP Cpl. Brad McIntosh says opioids seized in drug busts are so toxic police routinely suit up in hazard gear when working at crime scenes. (CBC)

Cpl. Brad McIntosh, who works for the RCMP clandestine lab enforcement team in Edmonton, said officers from his unit now routinely suit up in full hazard gear whenever they work a crime scene where drugs have been seized.

Fentanyl is an opioid 100 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanil, 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, is used as a tranquillizer for large animals.

“It’s lethal to anybody who comes in contact with this inadvertently and doesn’t have the proper personal protective equipment,” McIntosh said of the powerful opioids. “Where my team would be involved, we treat unknown substances now, and even drugs that may appear to be, say, cocaine or heroin or methamphetamine or ecstasy, as potentially being contaminated by fentanyl. So we wear the highest level of protection available.”

‘A very substantial bust’

“It’s obviously a very substantial bust, and especially because of the carfentanil seized,” he said.

Acting on a tip, RCMP obtained a warrant last week and searched a west-Edmonton home on Aug. 25. Among the items seized were:

  • 64 tablets of carfentanil;
  • 2.7 grams of fentanyl;
  • 3.2 kg of MDMA, known on the street as ecstasy;
  • 1.4 kg of cocaine;
  • 702 grams of methamphetamine;
  • one gram of heroin;
  • 2 kg of hashish;
  • 17.5 kg of marijuana;
  • 1.7 kg of psilocybin mushrooms;
  • $45,000 in cash
  • two handguns, a Taser, and a currency counter.

Though 2.7 grams of powder fentanyl may not seem like much, McIntosh said it would be enough to produce 2,700 single doses. That would be for one-milligram doses, he said.

If the seller had prepared the doses incorrectly, at two-milligrams each, half the people who took the drugs could have died, he said.

Two Edmonton men now face a total of 14 trafficking and weapons-related charges.

Both accused were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 25.

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