Major drug bust in Surrey of home-based lab with gang ties

On Thursday, Surrey RCMP announced that they have made a “substantial” drug seizure from a home-based lab in the South Surrey area. Police now believe that the lab is linked to the Brothers Keepers group, a criminal organization involved in the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict in B.C.

The news release reads as follows:

On August 6, 2019, Surrey RCMP Drug Section executed a search warrant on a residence in the 16300-block of 14A Avenue as a result of an ongoing investigation supported by the Surrey RCMP Frontline. The search warrant was executed with the assistance of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team and the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team, which supports RCMP detachments in investigating clandestine drug labs.

According to the RCMP, police have seized a significant quantity of drugs, manufacturing devices, and firearms.

According to the police, 63,000 doses of fake OxyContin ‘80’ pills, 94,000 doses of fake Percocet pills, 5,000 doses of suspected cocaine, 22,500 doses of fake heroin, and 200 doses of suspected methamphetamine have been seized.

Furthermore, in relation to drug manufacturing, 89 kg of an unknown cutting agent and 60 kg of a pill-binding agent, and 3 pill presses, capable of producing 3,600-16,000 tablets per hour, have also been seized.

Finally, police have managed to seize 7 firearms, including 6 SKS assault rifles and 1 carbine rifle.

“Police units involved in the operation, including RCMP’s Surrey Gang Enforcement Team and the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team, said Thursday the drug bust not only cripples the gang’s drug network, but also eliminates a public safety risk,” reports Global News.

“The public safety risks associated with these type of large-scale illicit drug operations cannot be understated,” says Sgt. Derek Westwick of the CLEAR Team. “Clandestine labs pose a significant risk of contamination due to the volume of toxic and hazardous chemicals being handled by untrained individuals.”

RCMP say that some of the drugs were packaged in bulk, likely to make large scale shipments to other distributors, while others were intended for distribution on the street level. RCMP also say that preliminary tests found the presence of fentanyl.

The public safety risks associated with these type of large-scale illicit drug operations cannot be understated,” says Sgt. Derek Westwick of the CLEAR Team. “Clandestine labs pose a significant risk of contamination due to the volume of toxic and hazardous chemicals being handled by untrained individuals.”

RCMP say that some of the drugs were packaged in bulk, likely to make large scale shipments to other distributors, while others were intended for distribution on the street level. RCMP also say that preliminary tests found the presence of fentanyl.

In addition to the massive drug bust, two people have been arrested after a search warrant was executed. They have since been released pending further investigation.

RCMP say that the investigation is ongoing, but they strongly suspect there are connections between the home-based lab and the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict, specifically the Brothers Keepers crime group.

“Based upon the sophistication and capacity of this operation to produce massive quantities of street level drugs, we believe there is a large criminal network associated to this lab, says Insp. Mike Hall, Surrey RCMP Proactive Enforcement Officer. “This seizure will cause a significant disruption to this group’s ability to distribute mass amounts of potentially fatal street drugs in the Lower Mainland.”

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According to the Vancouver Sun, “The Brothers Keepers gang was started on the Lower Mainland almost four years ago by Gavinder Grewal, who took the name from a line uttered by Wesley Snipes’s character in the 1991 movie New Jack City. Grewal got his new gang name tattooed across his upper chest in stylized script, as did other original members of the gang.”

They go on to detail the deaths of many of the gang’s founding members, but reveal that, nonetheless, the gang has been rapidly spreading across B.C., and that affiliated gangs have begun operating on Vancouver Island.

Anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Sgt. Brenda Winpenny says the Brothers Keepers are still based in the Lower Mainland, but that they are definitely operating in some capacity on Vancouver Island.

“And they definitely are bringing their own drugs over there,” she added.