Two men jailed 11 years for running large drug lab near Lumby

11 years for cooking drugs

Madison Reeve

The last two of six people accused of running a massive fentanyl and methamphetamine lab in Lumby were sentenced on Monday in Kelowna.

Trent Fussi, 33, and Robyn Bryson, 38, who were the cooks in the large-scale operation, were sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Crown and defence made a joint submission recommending a six year sentence for the production of methamphetamine and 11 years for the production of fentanyl. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Justice Brenda Brown accepted the sentencing proposal.

"I do consider it to be an appropriate sentence. These were extremely serious offences. There were vast amounts of two drugs involved. Fentanyl has been described as a scourge on our society; thousands of people die every year from ingesting fentanyl," Brown said.

"Methamphetamine, while not killing people as quickly, undoubtedly causes deaths. There has to be a very serious sentence imposed. Had there not been a guilty plea, I would have likely sentenced these gentlemen far more significantly than they are being sentenced in this case," she added.

A 10-year firearms prohibition was also imposed, along with forfeiture of the property related to the offence.

The charges stem from an RCMP raid on a property on Trinity Valley Road in October 2018, where officers found a “massive clandestine laboratory.”

The lab in the small North Okanagan community was one of the largest clandestine labs that had been discovered in the province at that time, police said.

Officers found large quantities of drugs, including 4.5 kilograms of methamphetamine HCl and 660 grams of fentanyl, along with precursor chemicals and waste materials. Police said the cleanup of the site cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“In this instance, there was a very large amount of synthetic waste by-product that had yet to be disposed of, which posed a significant risk to the local farms and residents living in the area," Supt. Bert Ferreira, officer in charge of the Federal RCMP Border Integrity teams in B.C., said in 2020.

In February 2021, Michael Harvey, Tyson Kopp, and Michael Piggott all pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing chemicals and equipment and the production of a controlled substance. They were all sentenced to three years in jail.

In September of the same year, Michael McMorris pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of chemicals and equipment and one count of producing methamphetamine. He was also sentenced to three years in prison.

During the sentencing on Monday, the court heard that the street value of methamphetamine found in the lab was estimated at $2.2 million.

The street value of fentanyl, once cut down and mixed, was estimated at $256 million. According to the BC Coroners Service, fentanyl-related deaths have skyrocketed since 2012.

In 2012, the BC Coroners Service reported a total of 12 fentanyl-related deaths. In 2018, the year Fussi and Bryson were arrested, fentanyl-related deaths totalled 1,333.

-With files from Nicholas Johansen

More Vernon News