UPDATED: Drugs seized from Aldergrove’s 856 gang, say police

A drug gang from Aldergrove was the alleged organization behind almost $400,000 worth of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and other chemicals found in a Langley home this month.

A July 26 police search of the home in the 4600 block of 236th Street turned up the drugs, along with a press, scales, and other equipment. Officers say the drugs were for distribution by the 856 gang of Aldergrove.

The facility was essentially a large-scale processing facility, said Sgt. Lindsey Houghton, spokesperson for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, (CFSEU) a province-wide anti-gang force.

Three men, 23, 25, and 47, all from the Langley and Aldergrove area, are now likely to face charges, said Houghton. Their names will be released when charges are formally laid.

The arrests and the subsequent search of the house go back to a tip phoned in from a member of the public about the house, said Houghton.

Working with the Langley RCMP, the CFSEU began investigating in early July. On Tuesday, July 22, they arrived at the home on 236th. The house, a massive building approximately 10,000 square feet in size, has apparently been divided up into a number of separate suites inside, said Houghton.

Police found one man they were looking for, and when searching him found a sizeable quantity of cocaine and methamphetamine, Houghton said.

While officers were on scene, another two men drove up who were also targets of the investigation. One was arrested immediately while the other made a run for it.

Police searched the nearby area for several hours before locating him with the help of the Air One helicopter, canine units, and local RCMP.

The arrests led to a search of one apartment within the house, Houghton said.

“Investigators found large quantities of drugs,” said Houghton.

They seized 2.514 kilograms of cocaine worth $150,000, 3.864 kilograms of methamphetamine worth about $100,000, 522 grams of heroin worth $55,000, 123 oxycontin pills worth about $3,700, and 44 kilograms of a substance known as “superbuff.”

Superbuff is a chemical formally known as phenacetin, which was used decades ago as a painkiller for humans. Its present use is not as appealing.

“It’s used for agriculture, in pigs, to de-worm them,” said Houghton.

The superbuff is used to dilute the cocaine and increase profits for the dealers. 

Police also seized scales, coffee grinders labelled “down” for heroin or “CSB” for cocaine superbuff, and a sizeable hydraulic press. The press, along with a custom-made metal box, was used for re-compressing the cocaine into bricks after it had been cut.

They also found cocaine that had been cooked into crack.

The 856 gang took its name from the prefix for Aldergrove phone numbers.

Born about a decade ago as a low-level gang of young street dealers, the group has grown across the province and across Canada, even as its profile in Langley and the Lower Mainland has remained relatively low.

“Their presence here in the Lower Mainland isn’t as prominent as it is in some other communities,” said Houghton.

Other, more famous local gangs such as the Red Scorpions, UN Gang, or others control the local drug trade. 

“They [856] have looked to other communities where there my be gaps in the drug market,” Houghton said.

The drugs found in the house were likely intended for distribution to northern B.C. communities and even the Yukon.

Last December, Yellowknife RCMP launched Operation Goblin, a series of drug raids against what they said were members of 856 who ahd set up operations there.

Recent raids haven’t stopped the gang from trying to find new members.

“They’re still recruiting, both locally and in the communities they’ve expanded to,” said Houghton.

The seizure of a sizeable amount of drugs, equipment, and phenacetin will have a significant impact on the gang, Houghton said.

The raids may not be the last interaction the CFSEU has with the gang in the near future.

“We’re still looking into the activities of the 856 group,” Houghton said.

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