‘Sophisticated operation’ behind opium importing
The seizure of an opium shipment destined for Port Moody will have a “significant impact” on opium distribution in the Lower Mainland and across the country, police say.
Port Moody Police Const. Bill Kim said the bust was the largest seizure in the city’s history.
On Aug. 27, the PMPD was informed by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) that a bulk quantity of opium was being shipped to a PoMo address from Istanbul, Turkey.
PMPD investigators from the major crime section, together with other municipal and federal agencies, initiated an extensive integrated operation that led to a PoMo man’s arrest on Saturday, Sept. 5. Officers seized about 11.5 pounds (5.3 kg) of opium, which carries a street value of approximately $500,000.
Kim couldn’t say how many people that amount of drugs could potentially be distributed to but noted that CBSA figures show that opium has suddenly become a much more popular drug in Canada.
“In the Pacific region in 2008, there were 133 kg [293 pounds] of opium seized, compared to 10 kg [22 pounds] in 2007,” he said, which means the recent seizure represents about 5% of last year’s take. “So that is quite significant.”
Kim would not reveal how the drugs were shipped from Turkey, only saying that it was a “sophisticated operation” and the drugs were likely intended for distribution in Greater Vancouver.
Azad Yousefi, 35, was arrested in Burnaby without incident and is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawfully importing a controlled substance.
By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News
Published: September 17, 2009 2:00 PM
Updated: September 17, 2009 2:35 PM