Calgary, AB,

Two charged in fentanyl and counterfeit currency manufacturing lab

The Calgary Police Service Gang Enforcement Team (GET) has charged a man and woman with possession of pill presses under the new Alberta Pharmacy and Drug Act, Section 18.81. This is believed to be the first charges laid in Alberta under the new Provincial legislation.

In late September 2017, the GET initiated a drug trafficking investigation based on tips from the public about two individuals operating a “dial-a-dope” business in Calgary.

Numerous investigative strategies were employed by the team. On Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, two people were arrested during a traffic stop in northeast Calgary. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of:

  • $3,415 Canadian currency
  • $58,000 counterfeit Canadian currency in $100 and $20 denominations
  • A folder containing counterfeit reflective security strips for the production of counterfeit Canadian currency
  • 100 fentanyl pills
  • 3.3 grams of heroin
  • 2.9 grams of crack cocaine
  • Drug packaging materials and cell phones
  • Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic handgun

Following the arrest of the two suspects, a search warrant was sought and executed on a residence in the 0-100 block Evansborough Green N.W., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.

Once inside the residence, police discovered what is believed to be a fentanyl production lab. A manual pill press and an industrial-style electric pill press used to manufacture pill tablets from powder at a large quantity were discovered in an attached garage. Officers evacuated the home and called in the RCMP Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team to assist.

In addition to the pill presses, the following items were seized from the home:

  • 10.7 grams of crack cocaine
  • 1,145 fentanyl pills
  • Unknown white powder
  • Blue and red dye containers containing dye consistent with dying fentanyl pills a green/blue colour
  • $429,600 in counterfeit Canadian currency, in both $100 and $20 denominations
  • $25,700 counterfeit U.S. currency
  • Numerous sheets of “money paper” with bills printed on each sheet, but not yet cut
  • Counterfeit Canadian currency reflective strips, enough to create approximately $4.5 million in counterfeit currency
  • Ink, large-scale printers, computers and other counterfeit currency manufacturing supplies
  • A Mossberg Defender 12-gauge shotgun
  • Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle
  • Ammunition of various calibres

Preliminary tests of the substances found at the scene indicate both W18 and fentanyl were present. Further tests are in progress and additional charges may be laid.

Additional firearms charges were also laid on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, as the firearms were determined to be stolen from a recent residential break and enter in Panorama.

Behrooz RAFIZADA, 27, and his wife Jocelynn Aida SALIBA, 28, both of Calgary, were arrested as a result of this investigation and face 59 charges in relation to firearms, drug trafficking, production of a controlled substance and currency counterfeiting offences.

This includes charges laid on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, under the new Provincial legislation for Pharmacy and Drugs Act, Section 18.81, which states no person shall own, operate or possess designated equipment (for making pills) unless that person holds a licence under the Act. A person who is found guilty of an offence under section 18.81 faces a fine of a maximum of $50,000 for a first offence, a maximum fine of $125,000 or imprisonment for no longer than six months for a second offence, and a third offence would result in a max fine of $375,000 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of one year.

As well as charges laid under the Food and Drug Regulations for unlawfully fabricate, package or label drugs, without an establishment license (contrary to section C.01A.004). And under the Food and Drugs Act (Section 31.2) for label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise a drug in a manner that was false, misleading, or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety.

The strategic enforcement of drug and weapons trafficking is a priority for the Calgary Police Service. Illegal drug activity is a danger to the community and a root cause of social disorder, violent crime and property crime. Vehicle thefts, break and enters and robberies are often committed by those trying to fuel addiction. The CPS aims to address root causes of crime through crime reduction strategies and community partnerships to ensure Calgary remains a safe place to live.