Surrey RCMP say they have seized more than 34,000 doses of hard drugs and weapons in a six-month investigation that led to five people facing 48 drug-related charges.
At a press conference Tuesday, police described the operation as “mid-level” and say the “significant drug line” was selling across the Lower Mainland, including on Surrey’s infamous 135A Street.
The drug line was cashing in on the opioid health crisis affecting the region, according to police.
“There will be many people dependent on drugs who will now have to find new dealers,” said Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann.
The investigation involved four search warrants being executed – two on Aug. 16 and two on Aug. 17 – in South Surrey, Guildford, Langley and Delta.
Approximately 30,000 doses of cocaine and almost 4,800 doses of heroin and fentanyl were seized, police say, as well as six weapons, including two loaded handguns, body armour, a stolen vehicle, stolen identity cards, cash and materials used with drug processing.
Police say the seizures will have a “significant impact on this criminal network’s ability to distribute illicit drugs.”
Five people are facing a total of 48 charges in connection to the busts, all of whom were previously known to police for drug trafficking: 34-year-old Bradley Thomas Antrobus of Surrey faces two charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking and six firearms related offences; 28-year-old Wyatt Kyle Costain of Surrey is charged with six counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking; 35-year-old Trevor Desjarlais of Surrey faces 11 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and seven firearms related offences; and 22-year-old Reanna Grace Kolakovic of Surrey is charged with five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Costain is a Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority (PTEP) target, which is the multi-agency law enforcement information-sharing strategy that co-ordinates intelligence related to gang and organized crime targets.
Schumann said Costain was located thanks to the help from PEI RCMP.
“He was in PEI and because of the officers’ diligence in the PEI RCMP, they spent a lot of time tracking him down and helping us arrest him,” he added.
One suspect has not yet been located by police: Dominic Graham Robert Lastoria, a 28-year-old man of no fixed address, who has been charged with 11 counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Lastoria is described as white, five feet five inches tall, 130 pounds with blond hair, blue eyes and a slender build. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call RCMP at 604-599-0502 or 1-800-222-TIPS.
While police say the drug busts were not “directly” connected to the shots-fired incidents in Surrey recently, Schumann said, “certainly we can attribute the drug trade and weapons like these to the violence that’s occurring across the Lower Mainland. There was three shootings that did occur in 24 hours and on those particular ones we were afforded quite a bit of evidence allowing us to forward those investigations. To date, there has been no arrests and the investigations are still ongoing.”
Asked what RCMP say to those who feel unsafe in their communities, who may call the drug seizure display a distraction, Schumann said the seizure “does directly impact the community, in that it improves their safety.
“There are guns here that are functional which could be used in an offence and certainly we have drugs here, including fentanyl... Seizures like this are very valuable to improving the safety of the community.”