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

No charges to be laid against 22 pipeline protesters arrested on Wet’suwet’en territory

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Salvation Army celebrates National Doughnut Day with deliveries to front line COVID workers

National Doughnut Day pays tribute to the “Doughnut Lassies” of the First World War

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Fibre installation for South Hazelton begins

Citywest says it will install cable in the summer and home installations in the fall

Annual bird count thrills organizer

Count took place over 48 hours

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read