Delta police confiscated 5,360 N95 and surgical masks from two individuals trying to re-sell them at “highly inflated” prices on April 1 and April 2, 2020. (Delta Police Department photo)

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Delta police stopped two people this week allegedly trying to re-sell thousands of face and surgical masks — at “highly inflated” prices — in defiance of a provincial order banning such sales.

A constable with the Delta Police Department’s crime reduction unit, which typically focuses on stolen property, was proactively looking through online ads when she came upon an individual looking to re-sell N95 masks, the police force said in a news release on Friday (April 3).

The officer reached out and arranged to buy a quantity of masks at a price of $15 per unit, plus a $300 “delivery fee.”

Secondary sales of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as cleaning supplies and food, were banned by the province on March 26 as part of a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act aimed at co-ordinating pandemic responses province-wide and putting an end to the “shameful black market for medical supplies,” as Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth put it, that has materialized as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities

Prior to meeting with the seller on Thursday, police contacted the City of Delta’s bylaw enforcement section to determine what offences would apply in these circumstances.

The seller, a Burnaby resident, showed up to the pre-arranged location driving a luxury vehicle. A police officer approached the man and informed him he would be receiving a $500 bylaw ticket for operating without a business licence. Police took possession of 60 masks, for which the seller was asking $1,200.

“Our crime reduction unit follows crime trends, and it’s troubling to see people trying to flout the ministerial order during this pandemic,” Cris Leykauf, public affairs manager for the Delta Police Department, said in a press release.

A day later, on Friday, April 3, Delta police handed a second person a $500 bylaw ticket after arranging to purchase 3,000 surgical masks from them for $2,200.

Both sellers voluntarily relinquished the masks to police, with the second seller relinquishing an additional 2,300 units. In total, police took possession of 5,360 masks between the two.

The department will be working with the Fraser Health Authority to determine how the masks can best be put to use.

— with files from Katya Slepian



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusPolice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Regional District of Central Kootenay declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders and alerts

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Powerful thunderstorms called for the West Kootenay this weekend

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday afternoon.

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read