North Vancouver RCMP have carried out one of their largest drug busts in recent memory after a raid on an industrial warehouse.
The police received a 911 call around 1 p.m. on Oct. 31, reporting that a man had been kidnapped and was being held at gunpoint at a warehouse on the 1500 block of Richmond Street.
Officers raced to the industrial area at the foot of Mountain Highway and spotted two vehicles leaving the warehouse.
North Vancouver RCMP and Vancouver Police Department members arrested four suspects in Vancouver soon after.
A search of the warehouse found a “significant” quantity of drugs and cash but no kidnapping victim, leading investigators to believe the initial 911 call had been a “false flag” to draw police to the scene.
“The warehouse appears to be inside of a drug trafficking lab where drugs were stored, prepared, package to be shipped and sold on streets,” said Const. Mansoor Sahak, North Vancouver RCMP spokesperson.
Among the drugs seized: eight kilograms of cannabis, five kilograms of raw psilocybin or magic mushrooms, 500 packages of mushroom pills and tea bags, 300 grams of mushroom gummies and chocolates, 400 packages of cannabis gummies, more than 1,000 pre-rolled joints as well as cannabis oil, hash and shatter.
Investigators roughly estimate the value of the seized product to be more than $500,000.
“I’d say it’s probably one of the most significant seizures we’ve had in North Vancouver. It is quite substantial,” Sahak said. “It was a fairly big operation that was occurring at the warehouse.”
It appears a large quantity of the drugs, some of which were package for retail but without Canadian government inspections or licensing, were being sold and delivered across Canada via the mail, Sahak said.
“This seizure by police means that these illicit drugs will never be on our streets in North Vancouver or across British Columbia. victimizing our communities,” Sahak said.
Two of the suspects, both Surrey men, are facing charges of possession for the purposes of trafficking. The other two were released but may yet face charges as the investigation continues, Sahak said.
Both of those facing charges have history with the police and known ties to organized crime, Sahak said.
The investigation is still in its early stages, and Sahak said it will likely take months and hundreds of staff hours to fully process and catalogue the evidence seized from the warehouse.
Sahak said they don’t know why the caller came up with the kidnapping rouse.
“Obviously, this individual had some knowledge of what was happening in this warehouse and decided to phone that in,” he said.
On Wednesday, Vancouver Police Department members raided three storefronts selling psilocybin and other psychedelics. Sahak said it’s too early to say if the investigations are linked.