A news conference held by the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) explains the details on how an intercepted package of carfentanil has led to charges laid against a Calgary man.
The conference, held on the 9th of August, let the public know that CBSA agents confiscated the package at the Vancouver International Mail Centre en route to Alberta in late June. The package was declared as printer accessories and was addressed to Joshua Wrenn of Calgary.
“Upon inspecting the parcel, weighing just over one kilogram, officers noted an unknown, white substance. That substance was sent to the CBSA lab for analysis and it was tested positive for carfentanil,” said Chief Ana Maria Coutu from the CBSA. “The carfentanil was then removed from the package and it was not reintroduced into the mail stream.” The carfentanil was then replaced with an equivalent weight in salt (also what’s shown in the photo).
“If you look at what one kilogram of carfentanil can produce it’s approximately 50 million fatal doses that could have hit our Canadian streets,” said Insp. Allan Lai, RCMP “K” Division OIC.
“Now we’re seeing a lot more analogs that are extremely more toxic, carfentanil being, as was mentioned, a hundred times more toxic than Fentanyl itself,” said Calgary Police A/Insp. Martin Schiavetta.
After the investigation was completed the 24-year old Joshua Wrenn was arrested and charged with Importation of a Controlled Substance and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
Carfentanil is one of the most potent Fentanyl analogs known to man, save for Lofentanil and the 4-heteroaryl derivatives like the substituted thiophenes and thiazoles variants. As mentioned by the Calgary Police inspector Martin Schiavetta, Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl. It’s considered a toxin to humans and consequently is only used as a general anaesthetic for large animals, marketed under the trade name Wildnil. The strongest Fentanyl analog approved for human use is Sufentanil which is only 7.5 times the potency of Fentanyl.
The police’s extreme concern is not without good reason. During the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis in 2002, 130 hostages were killed when Carfentanil gas was pumped through the ventilation system.
“This is a global issue,” said Lai. “I think this is serious enough that we need to make sure that we do prevent this from coming into our country. We also want to ensure that we act upon this. We’re extremely concerned about this and it really takes an international collaboration to stop the importation of this,” said Schiavetta. “We’re extremely concerned in the law enforcement family that we may see domestic synthesis of fentanyl from precursors and that’s something that we’re certainly alive to and working with all levels of government to try and regulate that.”
The Medical Examiner’s Office has been notified to be on the lookout for the drug.
Given the massive number of deaths associated with Carfentanil in the past few months, the fallout of this mess is likely to be of massive proportions.
Joshua Wrenn will be making his court appearance on October 19th, 2016 in Calgary.