Enough doses of fentanyl for 8,700 people seized in B.C. bust

Police in northern B.C. say they've seized a "significant" amount of illicit drugs with an estimated street value in the hundreds of thousands.

The Prince George RCMP said in a news release that an investigation into drug trafficking in the city resulted in the seizure of drugs, cash and paraphernalia, as well as the arrests of two men.

Those men have not been publicly identified, and have since been released pending the outcome of the investigation. Mounties said they are "well known to police for their ties to the illicit drug trade" in the city.

According to police, one of the suspects in the investigation had about 70 grams of suspected fentanyl on him, among other items. They were able to obtain search warrants for two properties, and said that inside they found another 800 grams of a substance they believe was also fentanyl.

Officers said the amount was enough to supply about 8,700 doses of the highly potent opioid that has been partially blamed for the severity of the provincial overdose crisis.

The RCMP estimated the approximate street value at $391,000.

Additionally, they said, they found smaller amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine. The RCMP detachment alleged it also seized a "large number" of painkillers and a firearm inside one of the homes.

The seizure police called "very significant" was announced on the same day as the B.C. Coroner Service provided updated data on illicit drug overdoses.

An average of 5.3 people died each day in March, the report said, and while the toll for the month did not break a record, this year is on track to be the deadliest yet in the crisis. 

Disproportionate to its population, Northern Health has been the most impacted region in the province this year, with a death rate of 52 per 100,000. That's compared to the provincial average of 42 per 100,000.

The BCPS said the Northern Interior health service delivery area, which includes Prince George, and the Northwest are among the hardest-hit sections of Northern Health.