A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call after responding to an incident in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. A man has been charged following a shooting in the Downtown Eastside that sent a man to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Police seize $7.8M in illicit fentanyl, cocaine destined for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

Project Toluence began in January and focused on a group in Vancouver and Richmond

A Vancouver police investigation into a drug lab has led to a massive seizure of illicit fentanyl and cocaine, totaling nearly $8 million.

According to investigators, the illicit drugs were destined for distribution across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The investigation, dubbed Project Toluence, began in January and focused on a group that was alleged to be manufacturing and trafficking illicit drugs at various locations throughout the region.

In March, a number of special police force officers and RCMP executed a search warrant in a Richmond neighbourhood, where a lab was found.

Investigators seized more than seven kilograms of suspected fentanyl, 800 grams of methamphetamines, and $39,000 cash from inside the lab. A man arrested near the lab was found in possession of an additional 15 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, along with two kilograms of cocaine and nearly $48,000 cash in a nearby vehicle.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 6, seize fentanyl-producing chemicals in 2 B.C. drug busts

A subsequent search warrant at a condo tower in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour led to an additional 4.7 kilograms of fentanyl, as well as $272,000 cash.

Three men initially arrested have been released pending the continued investigation and could end in charges related to production, posession and trafficking of controlled substances.

Organized Crime Section Insp. Phil Heard said in a statement that while this is an impressive seizure in a complex investigation, “much more work that needs to be done to address B.C.’s overdose crisis and the criminals that profit from it.”


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