Fentanyl is an ongoing focus for members of the Vernon RCMP. (photo submitted)

Police take fentanyl off the streets

As of Aug. 1, the 2017 overdose death toll for Vernon sat at 12 so far

Vernon RCMP continue to mobilize resources in response to the ongoing overdose crisis.

Members of the targeted policing unit have been directing their activities towards the illegal trade of opioids.

“Our enforcement strategy for illicit drugs has not changed but we try to target those trafficking in fentanyl as it is the opioid having the greatest impact on public safety,” said Sgt. David Evans, with the unit.

“Fentanyl is very commonly seized in Vernon, on its own or mixed with heroin. The majority of drug analysis we have done on opioids come back containing some quantity of fentanyl.”

As of Aug. 1, the 2017 overdose death toll for Vernon sat at 12 so far, already equaling the number recorded for 2016, and preceded by eight in 2015 and six in 2014.

In April, RCMP officers attempted to arrest a male suspect on outstanding warrants when both occupants of the vehicle fled on foot. Once arrested members located a loaded handgun in the vehicle and subsequently obtained a warrant for a related storage locker. That search led to the seizure of more than $20,000 in stolen property, additional firearms, half an ounce of fentanyl and explosives.

“Since time of the report, we have received additional analysis of the drugs seized — half an ounce of fentanyl and two and a half ounces of heroin,’ said Evans.

“Seizing fentanyl and heroin in those quantities is fairly significant as it was in bulk and not yet packaged for street sale. If someone packaged the combined quantities of opioid (fentanyl and heroin) without any dilution into 0.1 gram bags, it would result in 840 street level quantities.”

In another case in May and June, officers conducted an investigation of a suspected drug trafficking operation and a quantity of cocaine and suspected fentanyl was seized. A suspect has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.