News / Calgary

Meet the man cleaning up Calgary's clandestine fentanyl labs

Processors of the deadly opioid leave a dangerous mess behind

Dean May (left) and Tim Reed (right) must wear HAZMAT suits and full-face respirators to keep safe when cleaning up clandestine fentanyl labs.

Lucie Edwardson/Metro

Dean May (left) and Tim Reed (right) must wear HAZMAT suits and full-face respirators to keep safe when cleaning up clandestine fentanyl labs.

When Dean May suits up for work it’s a little more complicated than putting on a jacket and tie.

His suit is a HAZMAT. It’s bright yellow, airtight, taped at the ankles and the wrists, double gloved and requires a full face respirator.

May, a remediation specialist, cleans up the messes most people could never even imagine: murders, traumas, grow-ops and most recently, fentanyl houses.

“When we walk into the property after the cops have searched it, it literally looks like they turned the house upside-down and shook it,” he said. “There is stuff everywhere. Nothing is left unturned, nothing is left unsearched, unopened, unseen, uninspected.”

May said before fentanyl hit Alberta hard his company, MayKen Solutions, primarily dealt with marijuana grow-operations. But recently they’ve cleaned some of Calgary’s most dangerous busted drug operations—clandestine fentanyl labs.

“Somebody has to do it,” he said.

Cleaning out a fentanyl lab is quite the task, too.First they use an industrial vacuum called a hepa vacuum and clean top to bottom.

Then they use what is called a negative air machine in the basement of the house.

“That drags all the air from upstairs down and through a mass filter system,” said May. “Then starting at the top we scrub every square inch.”

The house May and his associate Tim Reed are currently cleaning is in Calgary’s deep south. The entrance is equipped with life-saving Naloxone kits used to temporarily reverse an opioid overdose — just in case the men were to come in contact with any of the fentanyl.

Suited up and ready to go.

Lucie Edwardson/Metro

Suited up and ready to go.

According to recent statistics, fentanyl has been linked to 155 deaths in the province between January and June of this year.

May said he can tell they were pressing pills in the basement of this particular home.

“Everything is covered in this green hue of dust,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s from the filler they use or the fentanyl itself.”

Currently the home has been deemed inhabitable by Alberta Health Services, but when May is done with it the home will be like new.

“We clean it to the point the ‘unfit order’ can be removed from the property,” he said. “Once Alberta Health Services gives the thumbs up it’s ready to go.”

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