Police say the alleged drug dealers charged in connection to a string of Saskatoon overdose deaths knew the cocaine was tainted.

Over one weekend in March 2018, four people in Saskatoon died from overdoses. Three others were taken to hospital.

“Two of the survivors contacted the dealer, realizing the cocaine was tainted and alerted them that something was wrong,” Det. Staff Sgt. Vince Ashmeade told media.

“After this warning at least one more sale was made, which resulted in two more people overdosing and dying.”

Once investigators learned where this alleged dealer’s cell phone was, police conducted two vehicle stops. Azam Kabani and Japmanjot Grewal were arrested.

Police then executed a search warrant at a home in the 100 block of Paylchenko Lane and found Shervin Beeharry trying to flush cocaine, heroin and fentanyl down the toilet.

Police also seized 11 grams of cocaine fentanyl mix, 149 grams of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, guns and more than $14,000 in cash.

These manslaughter charges are unprecedented in Sask.

Beeharry, 20, Grewal, 22, and Kabani, 20, faced drug trafficking-related charges in March. On Thursday, their charges were upgraded to manslaughter.

Police said this is the first time in Saskatchewan that manslaughter charges have been laid for drug trafficking.

Kabani was free on bail, but was arrested in New Westminster, B.C., on Thursday following the new charges. Beeharry and Grewal were arrested out of Regina Provincial Correctional Centre.

Before the arrests, Saskatoon police released the phone number of one of the alleged drug dealers – identifying him as “Lil Joe.” In an effort to protect the public, police urged people to turn in their cocaine without punishment.

Police now believe “Lil Joe” is Grewal.

How the fentanyl ended up in the cocaine is expected to be revealed in court, according to police.