Ottawa, Ontario – This week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) committed to work together to combat the flow of illicit fentanyl and other opioids into Canada.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and MPS Vice-Minister Chen Zhimin met in Ottawa following the recent signing by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries to enhance cooperation on combatting crime. During this meeting both parties agreed to strengthen coordinated law enforcement actions to disrupt the supply of fentanyl and synthetic opioids. Discussion to formalize joint investigations will begin next week during ongoing Canada-China Working Group meetings between law enforcement agencies of the two countries.
The issue of fentanyl and illicit opioids remains a top concern for the RCMP. There have been numerous recent examples of how Canadian law enforcement agencies have been successful at intercepting and preventing the trafficking of fentanyl into Canada, including:
In June, 1 kg of carfentanil from China was seized by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Vancouver.
On October 10, Vancouver Island RCMP seized 1 kg of fentanyl during a routine traffic stop.
On November 3, a package of Furanyl-fentanyl from China was intercepted at the Vancouver International Mail Centre.
“Fentanyl and other opioids pose a grave threat to the safety of Canadian communities. Our meeting this week was an important step forward and highlights the commitment between our two organizations to enhance operational collaboration, identify key areas of concern, and work towards a coordinated approach to combat fentanyl trafficking.” – Bob Paulson, RCMP Commissioner
China has cooperated with Canada and other international partners to disrupt the export of fentanyl, including classifying a number of fentanyl analogues as controlled substances under Chinese law and investigating leads provided by foreign law enforcement.
The RCMP is committed to collaborating with its international law enforcement partners to actively pursue the criminal networks that are responsible for this epidemic.
Fentanyl is a highly potent and addictive synthetic opioid analgesic that is estimated to be up to 100 times stronger than morphine; carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.
Networks operate on the Internet via the dark web, which continues to serve as the main gateway for the sale of illicit fentanyl in Canada.
Fentanyl has legitimate medicinal uses as an anesthetic and for severe pain management. Illicit activities with fentanyl are controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act which sets out the criminal offences and penalties.
Domestically, illicit fentanyl can be found in powder or liquid form as well as pressed into tablets mimicking the appearance of known pharmaceuticals such as OxyContin.
The effects of fentanyl are unpredictable. Users have no control over the level of purity or the potency of what they consume.
Two milligrams of pure fentanyl (the size of about 4 grains of salt) is enough to kill the average adult.
Public health and law enforcement officials have flagged that illicit fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs such as heroin and cocaine.