(TORONTO, ON) – Enforcement action has taken place in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in relation to the production and trafficking of fentanyl pills. Several individuals have been arrested under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
Project JAVELIN began in April 2020 with the investigation into a suspected methamphetamine production operation in Durham and Halton regions. As the investigation proceeded, evidence suggested it was in fact a fentanyl tableting operation. Once production was complete, suspects were then trafficking the fentanyl pills in both Ontario and British Columbia. On May 27, 2020 enforcement action took place in British Columbia which led to the interception of a large quantity of fentanyl pills.
As a result of the enforcement action in British Columbia, similar enforcement took place in Ontario on May 30, 2020 by the Methamphetamine & Synthetic Drug Production Taskforce where three suspects involved in the production facilities were arrested. The following individuals have been arrested and charged with offences under the CDSA:
- Halid SEFIC, age 30 of Burlington;
- Edin SEFIC, age 34 of Burlington, and;
- Richard ATANASOFF, age 56 of Toronto.
The charges associated with the accused can be found on the ADDENDUM OF CHARGED PERSONS.
The suspects were producing fentanyl pills that were counterfeit replicas of legitimate Teva‐Oxycocet 5mg/325mg pills. It is important to note that Teva Canada collaborates with law enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities to identify counterfeit medication and to protect patients by removing dangerous forgeries from our communities.
On May 30, 2020 as a result of evidence gleaned after the arrest of the above individuals, five search warrants were conducted by investigators from the Methamphetamine & Synthetic Drug Production Taskforce which includes the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), Peel Regional Police Service (PRPS), Toronto Police Service (TPS) and York Regional Police (YRP). Investigators from Halton Regional Police Service, DRPS Drug Enforcement Unit, the OPP Clandestine Laboratory Investigative Response Team (CLIRT), Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB), Urban Search and Rescue and CBRNE Response Team (UCRT), OPP West Region Emergency Response Team (ERT) and OPP Central and West Region Community Street Crime Units (CSCU) assisted with the execution of search warrants. These five search warrants were conducted at suspected fentanyl tableting and storage sites with one location in Oakville and four locations in Burlington.
As a result of the enforcement actions, investigators seized:
- 123,700 fentanyl pills;
- 70 kg of fentanyl powder;
- More than 300 kg of bulk powder utilized as binding/cutting agent;
- One (1) commercial-sized pill press;
- One (1) industrial pill press with counterfeit tableting stamp;
- Three (3) commercial-sized mixers;
- One (1) pill coating machine;
- Approximately 700 empty bulk pharmacy-sized pill bottles;
- One (1) roll of fraudulent “Teva-Oxycocet” labels;
- One (1) pill bottling tableting table; and
- $20,000 in CAD currency.
This is the largest seizure of fentanyl by law enforcement in Ontario.
The three accused were arrested and released on Undertakings. They are expected to appear at various Ontario Court of Justice locations in September 2020.
Indicators of a synthetic drug production site include:
- Suspicious activity, secretive behavior and avoidance of neighbour interactions;
- Occupants attend for short time periods and at odd hours;
- Chemical odours;
- Garbage contains numerous chemical containers, glassware, bags full of soil or garbage are never put out;
- Location has excessive security;
- Evidence of chemical dumping grounds on or near premises;
- Obstructed or covered windows; and
- Odd items being brought inside the location – equipment, glassware, chemical drums, etc.
If you see indicators of a synthetic drug production site, call local police 1-888-310-1122 immediately. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Remember to remain at a safe distance.
“The OPP consistently works in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry in relation to any suspected counterfeit medications encountered throughout our major projects and investigations. The creation of the Methamphetamine & Synthetic Drug Production Taskforce allows for seamless collaboration targeting criminal organizations responsible for the production of these dangerous drugs regardless of their location.” – Detective Inspector Jim Walker, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau