Police seize 63 kg of methamphetamine in largest Winnipeg meth bust ever

Two men from Alberta have been arrested after 63 kilograms of methamphetamine and smaller amounts of three other drugs were seized at an apartment in southwest Winnipeg last week, police say.

The methamphetamine bust is the single largest seizure of the drug the Winnipeg Police Service has ever made, Insp. Elton Hall said at a Thursday news conference.

“It’s alarming that there’s this much methamphetamine on the table in front of me. Hopefully we don’t see this trend continue,” Hall said.

“But there is a lot of methamphetamine, not only on the streets in Winnipeg, but across Canada right now.”

Police found the drugs during a search on Oct. 12 at an apartment suite at 835 Sterling Lyon Parkway, which Hall said was rented out but not to either of the men arrested.

In addition to the 63 kilograms of methamphetamine, which police estimate is worth $6.3 million, police seized 3.4 ounces of fentanyl (which police estimate is worth $15,000), 6.6 ounces of cocaine (estimated value $13,000) and two litres of GHB (estimated value $4,000) — sometimes called liquid ecstasy and known as a “date rape drug.” 

Several plastic bags filled with drugs are seen on a table. One bag has a label with the words "fentanyl contaminated" on it.
Drugs are displayed at a police news conference Thursday after a bust where officers seized methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and GHB — sometimes called liquid ecstasy and known as a ‘date rape drug.’ (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Hall said he found it “a little bizarre” to see GHB among the drugs seized during the bust, but the substance is also used by bodybuilders who use enhancements like steroids.

Police also found between $60,000 and $75,000 in Canadian currency during the search, which the tactical support team helped with, Hall said.

While methamphetamine often originates in Mexico, the colour of the drugs seized — which had a brown tinge — raised questions about where they came from, he said.

“If it was perfectly clear and it was well-made, I would probably tell you, ‘Look, I’m pretty confident it’s made in Mexico,'” Hall said.

“But this could be made in Canada or the United States right now. So I don’t have an exact answer, but it’s one of the three areas.”

He said the bust represents the kind of larger focus the police force’s guns and gangs unit is moving toward, instead of what he called marginalized policing, “where you’re arresting somebody who has a small amount of drugs on them, and then they’re released three hours later, and we’re in here doing paperwork for the next, you know, 10 or 12 hours.”

“Those arrests are inefficient — they don’t work,” Hall said.

Police are trying to focus more on mid-level drug traffickers like the men arrested earlier this month, he said.

“It’s these individuals who enter the city, who don’t even live here, causing a lot of mayhem and chaos for people in need. They’re taking advantage of vulnerable people in the city who rely on these drugs and they’re making a huge profit on it.”

Dennis Bobko, 35, and Bryan Arnold, 47, were arrested and detained in custody.

Police believe they are part of a larger organized crime network that spans several provinces, and the drugs were driven into Manitoba.

Both men have been charged with four counts of possession of a scheduled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possessing the proceeds of crime over $5,000.

More arrests are possible, Hall said.

Anyone with information about the trafficking or selling of methamphetamine or fentanyl is asked to call police at 204-986-6222 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 204-786-8477.

People who need help with addictions can call the Manitoba Addictions Helpline at 1-855-662-6605, Hall said.

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