File photo

File photo

19 arrested in drug trafficking sting

Undercover officers able to buy drugs like cocaine, fentanyl and heroin in two-month operation

A Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP drug trafficking investigation has resulted in a substantial number of arrests with undercover officers able to buy hard-core drugs like fentanyl and heroin.

Over the course of several days in November and December, officers conducted an undercover operation targeting several local drug trafficking groups.

A total of 19 persons have been charged with 30 counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

“The project saw undercover operators purchase various quantities from the street level to half ounces of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

Of those 19 persons, six have been arrested and remain in custody, six have been arrested and release on conditions for a future court date and seven are wanted on arrest warrants.

When the undercover operators purchased what they believed to be heroin it was later found to contain heroin, fentanyl, and mixtures of both which greatly increases the potency of an already highly toxic and dangerous drug.

“This reinforces what has been widely known and reported: persons using illicit drugs do so without knowing what the drug actually contains and as a result put themselves, and potentially others, at significant risk,” said Noseworthy.

Sgt. David Evans of the targeted policing squad said the initiative is one part of the detachment’s efforts to reduce crime by targeting those specifically responsible for drug trafficking in the North Okanagan.

“Fentanyl is most certainly here and it’s availability should be cause for concern for all involved, from the drug user to the health care providers and emergency responders,” said Evans.