RCMP charge Calgary man with importing deadly synthetic drug from China

By The Canadian Press
August 10, 2016 - 6:49am

CALGARY — RCMP have charged a Calgary man with importing a dangerous synthetic drug that can be 100 times more powerful than deadly fentanyl.

Canada Border Services Agency staff seized a package containing one kilogram of carfentanil that came from China, enough for 50 million doses.

"It is very dangerous," RCMP Insp. Allan Lai said Tuesday at a news conference.

"This is serious enough that we do have to prevent this from coming into our country."

The synthetic opioid is used to sedate elephants and other large animals but has been showing up in heroin around the world.

RCMP said it is hard to imagine what this drug would do if even a small amount made its way to Canadian streets.

The CBSA said the package containing the drug was intercepted in Vancouver on June 27. The package was marked as containing printer accessories.

The white powder was sent to a lab that confirmed the substance was carfentanil. Officials said the public was never at risk.

RCMP and Calgary police then began investigating.  

Joshua Wrenn, 24, has been charged with importing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

He is to appear in Calgary provincial court on Oct. 19.

Carfentanil is the latest synthetic opioid to cause concern in Canada.

Fentanyl has been linked to hundreds of deaths in Canada, including 443 in Alberta since 2014. The NDP government passed a law this year to ban machines that make pills of illegal drugs such as fentanyl.

Last month British Columbia asked the federal government to help it crack down on fentanyl overdoses that have been classified as a public health emergency in the province. Fentanyl has been linked to 371 deaths in B.C. this year.

RCMP warned that carfentanil is worse, calling it one of the most powerful opioids known.

"It has a quantitative potency 100 times that of fentanyl whereby a minute dose of as little as 20 micrograms could be fatal to an average human," police said in a release.

"There is no known application where carfentanil would be safe for human use." 



The Canadian Press

©2016 The Canadian Press

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