An Airdrie resident has been charged with drug trafficking after RCMP seized a quantity of the drug carfentanil following a search of the man’s vehicle and hotel room, according to Alberta RCMP Media Spokesperson Cpl. Curtis Peters.
Cody Laine Costante, 26, was charged Jan. 7 with possession of carfentanil for the purpose of trafficking, possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking, as well as possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He was remanded into custody and appeared in Airdrie Provincial Court Jan. 10. The outcome of that appearance was not known by press time.
According to Peters, the Airdrie RCMP Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) began an investigation of Costante in early January, leading to his arrest Jan. 7.
Search warrants were obtained by RCMP to search Costante’s vehicle and hotel room at the Motel 6 on Gateway Drive N.E. on Jan. 8. Peters said the RCMP Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team was brought in to conduct the searches due to the risk posed by the potent drugs.
“That particular unit, they’re specialized and trained in how to deal with those types of scenes,” he said. “They deal with things like meth labs, and now with the emergence of fentanyl, they deal with the seizure and handling of fentanyl for us. There’s higher risk and specialized training needed for dealing with that kind of stuff.”
Peters said CLEAR was assisted by the Airdrie Fire Department and EMS.
“It’s so dangerous and it’s quite easy to accidentally be exposed, especially if (the drug) is in a powder form,” he said. “Someone could accidentally inhale it or if it comes in contact with skin, it could be absorbed through the skin. There’s a level of risk there that warrants having those guys who are trained and have the equipment and have the expertise (on scene).”
In Alberta, the legal use of carfentanil is limited to large animals. The opioid is 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Just one grain of carfentanil can be lethal. It has not been licensed for use on humans.
Peters said the carfentanil seized in this case was mixed with heroin, making it even more dangerous.
“That is a trend that we are seeing now. Fentanyl started to emerge on the market as a replacement for oxycontin,” he said. “It’s just a greed thing to be able to use even less of a substance and make even more money.”
Also charged is Jan-Anne Marie August, 27 of Calgary. Peters said August was arrested along with Costante at the Motel 6. She faces two charges of failing to comply with recognizance and one count of obstruction. August was remanded into custody and will appear in Airdrie Provincial Court Jan. 25.
Additional charges against Costante and August are possible as investigators continue to go over the evidence, Peters said. Costante’s vehicle remains in police custody. RCMP has asked the court to seize it and forfeit it to the crown as property used in the offense of a crime.