Largest ever opium seizure worth $50M made in Vancouver

Jan 20, 2023

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials recently reported seizing nearly 2,500 kg of opium in the largest opium seizure to date for the agency.

The details of the seizure and investigation were released in a press conference at the Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility  in December of 2022.

“Our border services officers, intelligence officers and analysts work hard to ensure illicit and dangerous drugs stay out of our communities,” said Nina Patel, CBSA Regional Director General/Pacific Region at the press conference. “This record seizure of opium is an example of their outstanding dedication to protect our communities.”

Moreover, according to the CBSA, earlier in September, the CBSA Intelligence Sections and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit started an investigation of a potential significant importation of controlled substances concealed inside marine containers.

Subsequently, on Oct. 25, the CBSA’s Metro Vancouver Marine Operations performed an examination of goods within 19 marine containers as part of the ongoing investigation. Using a wide range of detection tools and technology, including X-ray technology, officers discovered irregularities in the shipping pallets as part of a deep concealment method. Further physical examination confirmed approximately 2,486 kg of opium within 247 shipping pallets, with a total worth of over $50 million.

In turn, the seized drugs were turned over to the RCMP FSOC unit for further investigation. “Committed to protecting Canadians from the most serious criminal threats, BC RCMP Federal Policing works closely with our domestic and international partners in combating organized crime,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Will Ng during the press conference. “Being jointly responsible for protecting Canada’s border, today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of our dedication to keeping illicit drugs from entering our communities, through our enduring partnership, and ongoing collaboration with the CBSA, at home, and abroad.”

So far, no arrests have been made as part of the investigation. “Today’s announcement shows that our front line agencies are working hard to keep illegal substances off our streets,” said Delta MP Carla Qualtrough during the press conference. “This is effective and essential work that keeps communities, especially those in proximity to ports, safe from crime. With CBSA making this historic seizure in British Columbia, Canadians can rest assured of the excellent work being done to keep communities across Canada safe.”