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

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Stroll through Ucluelet’s history with the free ‘On This Spot’ app

Educational exercise is split into two unique tours and delivered with stunning ‘now and then’ photos

District of Tofino slashes spending and taxation due to COVID-19

Expected tax increase transformed into 19 per cent decrease.

Construction work begins on seismic upgrades at Ucluelet Secondary School

The first phase of the $45 million project involves levelling an area for the new academic block

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Most Read