ILLEGAL FENTANYL LAB SHUT DOWN

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(EDMONTON, AB) – Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) Edmonton organized crime and gang unit has shut down a fentanyl production lab operating out of a home in southeast Edmonton. Two people were arrested and nearly $1 million worth of drugs were seized.

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With the help of the Edmonton Police Service’s Clandestine Lab Team, ALERT investigators executed a search warrant on the home in the Silverberry neighbourhood on August 8, 2018.

Once inside, they discovered a lab where fentanyl was being processed to look like heroin. More than two kilograms of processed fentanyl was seized, which, if sold as heroin, has an estimated value of $800,000.

“We have seen street-level dealers passing off fentanyl as other drugs before, but this is one of the first times we’ve encountered a production lab specifically set up to produce fentanyl that would be sold under such false pretenses,” said Insp. Marc Cochlin, officer in charge of ALERT’s Edmonton teams. “It’s alarming to see producers harboring such a blatant disregard for the safety of their consumers and for the safety of the community as a whole.”

Also found in the home were 500 grams of fentanyl powder, five kilograms of a buffing agent and $900 cash proceeds of crime. Investigators also seized a 2011 Mercedes-Benz sedan, which will be submitted to the provincial civil forfeiture office for review.

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Dylan Vande Gutche, 21, and Robert Burke, 18, have each been charged with:

  • Possession of a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking
  • Possession of proceeds of crime

However, it is expected that more charges will be laid against both suspects in the near future.

Due to the fentanyl contamination in the house, the hazardous materials team from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services was called in to assist with the operation.

Alberta Health Services has inspected the home and declared it unfit for human habitation, and will determine how much remediation will be necessary.

This investigation began in December 2017.

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.

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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.

Source: ALERT Media Release

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