Five British Columbians and an Alberta man are facing numerous charges in relation to the illicit production of synthetic drugs.
On Oct. 19, 2018, several RCMP units executed a search warrant on a property on Trinity Valley Road in Lumby, BC. Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) members from Kelowna and Osoyoos, with assistance from Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR), North Okanagan RCMP and Southeast District Emergency Response Team (ERT), converged on the residence which contained a massive clandestine laboratory. As a result, five individuals were arrested and large quantities of drugs, precursor chemicals and waste materials were located. In total, approximately 48 kilograms of ephedrine HCl, 50 kilograms of solutions containing ephedrine HCl, 4.5 kilograms of methamphetamine HCl, 147 gallons (556 litres) of solutions containing methamphetamine, 10 kilograms of 4-anilino-N-phenethylpiperidine (ANPP), 2.95 kilograms of nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP), 660 grams of fentanyl and 124.7 litres of solutions containing both fentanyl and ANPP. The chemical ANPP is a direct precursor to fentanyl, and NPP is an androgen and anabolic steroid.
Illegally produced fentanyl has been found in an increased number of overdose deaths in BC. Clandestine laboratories like this are fuelling this health crisis. Clandestine laboratories not only produce synthetic drugs under no safety standards, but they also produce a significant amounts of waste materials. That waste can contaminate the environment and cause immeasurable health risks to the public.
In this instance, there was a very large amount of synthetic waste by-product that had yet to be disposed which posed a significant risk to the local farms and residents living in the area, said Supt Bert Ferreira, Officer in Charge of the Federal RCMP Border Integrity teams in BC. Mitigating environmental contamination was one of the key factors in the timing of the warrant execution.
This clandestine laboratory remains one of the largest in BC. The specialized hazardous waste removal and disposal required in this case was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Michael McMorris, Robyn Bryson, Trent FUSSI, Michael Harvey, Tyson Kopp and Michael Piggott all face several counts of Unlawfully Possessing Chemicals and Equipment, Possession of a Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking (methamphetamine and fentanyl), and Production of a Controlled Substance (methamphetamine and fentanyl). Bryson and Fussi both face an additional charge of Flight from Police. McMorris, Harvey, Kopp and Piggott are scheduled to appear in Kelowna Law Courts on October 27, 2020.
Bryson and Fussi remain at large with endorsed warrants for their arrest. If you know their whereabouts, please call your local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) to report it anonymously.
Synthetic drug production, including fentanyl and methamphetamine, is recognized as one of the highest threats to national public safety. The RCMP, along with law enforcement partners across Canada, have collectively taken a stance to target synthetic drugs and related organized crime groups through the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime (CIROC), Closing in on Meth: Canadian Enforcement Strategy (2020-2021). The overarching goal of this strategy is to disrupt the supply of synthetic drugs locally, provincially and nationally. For more information on the strategy please go to https://cacp.ca.
If you suspect that you know where a clandestine illicit drug laboratory is contact your local police. They can investigate whether any illegal activity is taking place and contact the Federal RCMP CLEAR team to assist if required.