Prairie Post (West Edition)

Fentanyl superlab dismantled


ALERT has prevented possibly hundred of millions of fentanyl doses from hitting the streets after a superlab has been dismantled. More than 31 kilograms of fentanyl and precursors were seized, along with 7,600 kilograms of chemicals used in fentanyl production.

ALERT executed 13 search warrants on July 7, 2021 as part of Project Essence. The search locations included homes and businesses in the Edmonton and Calgary areas, and a suspected fentanyl superlab located at a rural location near Aldersyde, Alta.

“We appreciate the vital work ALERT does to keep our communitie­s safe and improve the lives of Albertans. Through Project Essence, ALERT disrupted organized crime endeavours and prevented hundreds of millions of fentanyl doses from potentiall­y entering our communitie­s, and destroying the lives and futures of many Albertans,” said Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

Project Essence covered all aspects of fentanyl production; from importatio­n, to accumulati­on and stockpilin­g of equipment and raw chemicals, to production, and eventual distributi­on.

The totality of fentanyl and chemical precursors seized had the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses, according to ALERT and Health Canada estimates. ALERT believes the superlab was capable of producing as much as 10 kilograms of fentanyl every week.

One kilogram of pure fentanyl is equal to one million doses, and a lethal dose is considered to be 2 milligrams. If sold on the street, the value of the drugs seized is over $300 million, and includes:

• 13.6 kilograms of fentanyl;

• 11.9 kilograms of the fentanyl late-stage precursors 4-ANPP;

• 6.6 kilograms of synthetic opioids;

• 9.9 kilograms of methamphet­amine;

• 50 litres of gamma-Hydroxybut­yric acid;

• 3.5 kilograms of buffing agents; and

• 7,600 kilograms of chemicals.

ALERT is awaiting a complete Health Canada laboratory analysis of the fentanyl and chemicals seized. However, preliminar­y testing shows that amongst substances located was the fentanyl late-stage precursor 4-ANPP and the synthetic opioid isotonitaz­ene, which reportedly has a much higher potency than fentanyl.

ALERT further seized 18 handguns, one rifle, $25,000 in cash and jewelry, six vehicles, four motorcycle­s, three trailers, and a boat. The assets were seized as proceeds of crime.

A number of suspects have been identified and charges are pending.

Project Essence began in February 2021 when ALERT received informatio­n of attempts to import a 563-kilogram shipment of a chemical used in fentanyl production.

During the investigat­ion, ALERT relied on the expertise and assistance of a number of specialize­d agencies, including Edmonton Police, Calgary Police, RCMP, Health Canada, Alberta Health Services, CBSA, Okotoks Fire Department, Foothill County Fire Department, British Columbia Combined Forces Special Enforcemen­t Unit, and Alberta Environmen­t.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was establishe­d and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilatio­n of the province’s most sophistica­ted law enforcemen­t resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

 ?? Photo contribute­d ?? Millions of dollars worth of drug were seized during a massive raid of a super-lab near Aldersyde.
Photo contribute­d Millions of dollars worth of drug were seized during a massive raid of a super-lab near Aldersyde.

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