Ridge Meadows RCMP Insp. Aaron Paradis relates details of the detachment’s largest-ever seizure. (Neil Corbett/The News)

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment's history included submachine gun, body armour

Ridge Meadows RCMP revealed details of its largest-ever seizure of drugs, firearms, and cash on Thursday morning.

The bust came after a five-month investigation by the detachment’s Street Enforcement Unit, and included confiscation of more than 3.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, which would equal approximately 35,280 street doses, according to police.

At the press conference, Insp. Aaron Paradis also announced the seizure of significant volumes of more suspected drugs: 2.2 kg of meth, 659 grams of coke/crack, 1.6 kg of ketamine and 844 codeine/morphine pills.

The total would be more than 72,000 total doses.

“No community should have this amount of illegal drugs on their streets,” he said.

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Police also seized a fully automatic submachine gun, semi-automatic pistol, a silencer, hard body armour and $114,000 in currency. The pistol was a Cz-75 Shadow 9mm, and the submachine gun wasa GSG-40 9mm with a sawed-off barrel. In addition therre were other gun parts and several boxes of ammunition.

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Police also announced Christopher Leigh Harmes, 34, of Maple Ridge attended provincial court in Port Coquitlam on July 16, and was charged with nine weapons offences: Four counts of possessing a firearm without a licence and/or registration, two counts of careless use of a firearm, two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, and one count of “loaded/unloaded with ammunition a prohibited or restricted firearm.

In addition, this week the RCMP is forwarding 11 further drug-related charges for consideration by Crown counsel.

Harmes has been previously been convicted for drug trafficking offences in 2010, 2012 and 2015. He is in custody pending his next court appearance on Aug. 19.

Paradis said the Street Enforcement Unit, a plainclothes team that uses “covert techniques,” began in March 2020 investigating activity related to the illicit drug trade and in particular Blue Fentanyl which is believed to be linked to multiple overdose deaths throughout the Lower Mainland. He said the team identified Harmes selling drugs in the downtown core.

On July 15, search warrants were executed with the assistance of the Integrated Emergency Response Team on two residences; one in Maple Ridge and one in Mission.

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“We feel it’s a significant impact to street level drug trade that we see here in our community, and any time that you can remove that quantity of drugs off our streets we certainly know the impact will be significant in making our community safer,” said Paradis.

He said the detachment reviewed other busts from the past 25 years for comparison. While there have been other large cannabis busts, this is considered the largest based on the number of doses and the “lethality” of the drugs seized.


 

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