A man has been acquitted of drug trafficking despite being found in possession of over 27,000 fentanyl pills.

The B.C. Supreme Court has found that Sandor Rigo, who was stopped in April of 2017 while travelling between Vancouver and Calgary, had his Charter rights violated by the RCMP.

After Rigo was pulled over for speeding, RCMP suspected that he may have been trafficking narcotics—a suspicion prompted by the driver’s multiple cellphones as well as an odour coming from the vehicle, and corroborated by the use of a drug-sniffing dog. Rigo’s car was then searched, and the thousands of pills were found.

Protection against unreasonable, excessively invasive searches is important, but if a trained police officer has even the faintest inkling that a vehicle is being used to traffic fentanyl, should he not be given the latitude necessary to conduct a rigorous inspection?

I daresay he should. How is it that police can request breath samples from individuals without evidence of inebriation, but they cannot search the vehicle of a suspected, and indeed proven, fentanyl trafficker?  

Last year, fentanyl overdoses killed thousands of Canadians across the country, with the western provinces hardest hit. British Columbia is in such a state of crisis that its life expectancy dropped for the first time in decades, largely due to the fentanyl flooding in from China .

Despite desperate attempts by Canadian law enforcement to tackle this issue bilaterally, the Chinese government has been largely standoffish.

The reality is that much of the proceeds of this endeavour do return to China.

As tensions heighten between Ottawa and Beijing, one has to wonder whether cases like Rigo’s are in any way affected by Chinese political influence.