Last fall, the police in Ontario arrested a person named Maisum Ansari who lives in the suburbs of Toronto, who had in his home approximately 42 kilograms of carfentanil, or a substance containing carfentanil.
42 kilograms of carfentanil is a massive amount and likely the largest seizure by law enforcement in the history of seizures of carfentanil. According to Europol, before the seizure in Canada, the largest single seizure of carfentanil was 440 grams seized in the UK in 2017.
Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl. According to the AG of New Jersey, 45 kilograms of fentanyl is enough to kill 18 million people. A similar amount of carfentanil, at 100 times the potency of fentanyl, is enough to kill 100 times that number – which is somewhat less than 1.8 billion people, assuming it is of the same purity. And even if it is of a lesser purity, it is still enough to kill tens of millions of people. The purity in drug seizures typically ranges from 0.00034% to 0.13% carfentanil.
What a person in suburban Toronto was doing with that much carfentanil is unknown. And we also do not know where he got it from. There are no minimum doses of carfentanil that are known to be safe for humans. For the less potent fentanyl, the lethal dose is between 1-2 milligrams (which is similar to a few grains of salt).
Carfentani is a opioid sedative used for large animals, mostly elephants. It affects the central nervous system and depresses respiration. An overdose can cause respiratory arrest and death.
The amount of carfentanil seized in the home of Ansari suggests it may have been contemplated for terrorism-related purposes rather than drug trafficking because it’s simply too much volume. Carfentanil could be used by terrorists as a WMD and hence is a money laundering and terrorist financing concern under the FATF Recommendations for banks and the AML community who are tasked with safeguarding the financial system. Carfentanil is believed to have been used in Russia in 2002 in aerosol form to end a stand-off with hostages which resulted in the death of 117 people.
It’s not the first time Canadians have been identified as major players in the fentanyl and carfentanil trade – in late 2016, 50 million lethal doses of carfentanil were shipped to Canada from China, labelled as printer ink. Last month, the DHS, DoJ and FBI, among others, identified a Canadian man as the third largest fentanyl trafficker in North America. And Interpol issued an international wanted notice for a Polish gangster who was given immigration status in Canada named Wojciech Joseph Grzesiowski, wanted for trafficking fentanyl and carfentanil for the leading mafia organization, the Ndrangheta.
Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported that in 2017, 62 grams of carfentanil was seized in Vancouver, Canada, which originated in Hong Kong and transited through Germany.
As well, it was a Canadian owned and operated darknet site, AlphaBay, that facilitated most of the illegal drug sales, including fentanyl and carfentanil, online for quite a number of years until the US took them down.
Carfentanil and fentanyl have been linked to a significant number of overdose deaths in the US and Canada. Carfentanil is added to mixtures of heroin and cocaine and sold on the street.
Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety, first responders, postal service employees and forensic laboratory personnel. It is also a significant health risk to bank employees who handle cash.
Ansari was charged with 337 offenses related to possession of illegal guns and possession of carfentanil for the purposes of trafficking. Later arrested was Babar Ali, who is alleged to be connected to Ansari.
Ansari is connected to Faisal Hussain, the man who killed two people and wounded thirteen others on July 22, 2018, in Toronto, using a semiautomatic gun.
Carfentanil is imported to Canada (usually Vancouver) from China illegally, paid for with Bitcoin, and then distributed to the US. More recently, it is believed that the CJNG in Mexico are pivoting into the fentanyl business because of the higher profit margins.
The World Health Organization just recently recommended that carfentanil be listed in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Chemically, carfentanil is methyl 1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-[phenyl(propanoyl) amino]piperidine-4-carboxylate.