Gangs reap profit from fentanyl as deaths climb

Global News

VANCOUVER – The powerful opioid fentanyl, recently linked to an outbreak of overdose deaths in Western Canada, appears to be flowing along a well-worn drug trafficking route — killing some of its users in the same way tainted ecstasy did before.

Authorities theorize the potent painkiller is being imported from Asia to the West Coast, then moved to the black market in B.C. and Alberta by organized crime groups.

Policing has largely centred around public warnings and education campaigns to prevent overdoses, while investigations are at such an early stage that officers haven’t yet uncovered any pill manufacturing operations.

It’s a pattern reminiscent of early 2012, when investigators were probing the source of batches of ecstasy mixed with an unknown, lethal additive as deaths stacked up.

“I think there is something of a trade route, and it’s one we saw in place at the time of ecstasy-lacing,” said Simon Fraser…

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