Sault Ste. Marie Drug Trafficking Operation Disrupted: Major Bust by OPP Community Street Crime Unit

Home takeover investigation leads to seizure of firearms, fentanyl
Fentanyl is a deadly drug that even a small dose can kill a user.

Significant Drug Seizure Following Traffic Stop

In a substantial blow to local drug trafficking operations, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU) successfully conducted a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of drugs and the arrest of two individuals in Sault Ste. Marie.

Extensive Search Leads to Large Drug and Cash Haul

The incident took place on June 29, 2023, just after 6:00 p.m. when the Sault Ste Marie OPP Detachment, in conjunction with the CSCU, performed a traffic stop on Trunk Road. The search of the vehicle led to the seizure of over 230 grams of suspected Fentanyl, more than 20 grams of suspected Crystal Methamphetamine, a digital scale, packing material, cell phones, and over $7100 in Canadian Currency.

Serious Charges Levied Against Two Passengers

James RUTHERFORD, a 37-year-old from Hilton Beach, and Scott KEATING, a 37-year-old from Sault Ste Marie, were arrested and face serious charges related to drug trafficking.

Rutherford has been charged with:

  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking-Opioid (other than heroin)
  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking-Methamphetamine
  • Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained by Crime over $5000
  • Fail to Comply with Probation Order

The charges Rutherford faces are severe and carry significant penalties. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, trafficking of Schedule I substances can lead to life imprisonment. Possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5000 can result in a sentence up to 10 years. The failure to comply with a probation order can result in further sanctions including imprisonment.

Rutherford appeared before the Ontario Court of Justice Video Bail in Sault Ste Marie on June 30, 2023, and was remanded into custody.

Keating has been charged with:

  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking- Opioid (other than heroin)
  • Possession of a Schedule I Substance for the Purpose of Trafficking- Methamphetamine

Similar to Rutherford, Keating also faces severe penalties under the Canadian Criminal Code for the possession of Schedule I substances for the purpose of trafficking, which could result in life imprisonment.

Keating is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Sault Ste Marie on August 14, 2023.

How Many Potential Fatal Doses of Fentanyl in 230 Grams of the Drug?

Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid, up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a lethal dose of fentanyl for most people is about 2 milligrams, although this can vary based on an individual’s size, tolerance level, and past usage.

Given that 1 gram is equivalent to 1,000 milligrams, 230 grams of fentanyl would be equivalent to 230,000 milligrams. Dividing this by the lethal dose of 2 milligrams gives us 115,000 potential lethal doses.

However, please note that this is a rough estimate. The actual number could be higher or lower depending on the factors mentioned earlier, such as individual tolerance and size. Furthermore, fentanyl sold on the street is often mixed with other substances, which could also affect the lethality of a given dose.

Coordinated Effort by Specialized OPP Teams

The success of this operation is credited to the coordinated efforts of the Sault Ste Marie OPP Detachment, the CSCU, and members from the Emergency Response Team and the Northeast Region Canine Unit. Their dedicated work has dealt a significant blow to the drug trafficking network in the local community.

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