A 17-year-old who was out on bail following a drug bust in January was charged this week in connection to Abbotsford’s largest OxyContin bust.
The teen, who cannot be named because he is a young offender, was charged Thursday with trafficking in marijuana and OxyContin (a painkiller), as well as breach of his bail conditions.
He was arrested at the same home where he was busted earlier this year, when he was also found with marijuana and about 100 Oxy pills.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the Abbotsford Police Department recently received information that a stash of drugs was located at the residence in the 32500 block of Bevan Avenue.
A search warrant was executed Wednesday morning by the drug enforcement unit with assistance from patrol division officers and members of the gang suppression unit.
Police seized cash, a small amount of marijuana and more than 1,100 OxyContin tablets. MacDonald said the potency of the pills ranged from 20 to 80 milligrams with an estimated street value of $35,000.
The seizure compares to a typical bust of around 50 to 100 OxyContin tablets, he said.
Two other men – ages 22 and 27 – were stopped as they were leaving in a vehicle. They were found in possession of 80 OxyContin pills and $1,000 cash. Charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking will be recommended against them.
MacDonald said the residence served as a drug-supply house, operated by the teen, while the two older men were dealers. They are affiliated with a gang, but he would not say which one.
He said OxyContin continues to be a coveted drug both for selling and buying. Dealers like it because they don’t need to produce it themselves, and it’s a quick money-maker, with an 80 mg tablet going for about $50 on the street.
“You can be walking around with $5,000 worth of OxyContin in your pocket and no one would know,” he said.
Many of the buyers are gangsters themselves, for whom Oxy has developed a “street cachet” and is correlated with status, MacDonald said.
He said it provides a numbing effect, which can serve useful in helping those involved in criminal ventures escape the reality of their actions. It is also highly addictive.
Another downside is the methods that are employed to get the pills. People with prescriptions will sell the tablets and will often “double doctor” their prescriptions – altering them to obtain a larger quantity or to re-use them.
MacDonald said a more concerning tactic, because of its risk to public safety, is robbery. The robbers often owe a debt to a gang, and brandish weapons while committing their crimes.
A robbery on March 25 at a pharmacy in the 30400 block of Blueridge Drive involved OxyContin, as did one earlier in the year. An attempted robbery at a pharmacy on Clearbrook Road, also on March 25, was staved off when a customer alerted police that he had spotted two men carrying a duffel bag that might have contained a gun.
MacDonald said it’s almost certain that the potential thieves were after OxyContin.