ALBERTA

Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana Makes Court Appearance Over Fentanyl Bust Charges

08/17/2015 03:02 EDT | Updated 08/17/2016 05:59 EDT

CALGARY — The son of a former British Columbia member of the legislature has been charged in a fentanyl bust in Calgary last month.

Kasimir Tyabji-Sandana, who is 27, is charged with one count of importing a controlled substance.

He made a brief appearance via closed circuit television in Calgary court on Monday. He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on Sept. 16. His lawyer is working on setting a date for a bail hearing.

Police intercepted a package marked as a muffler from China last month at Vancouver's International Mail Centre.

It was addressed to someone in Calgary and contained 122 grams of pure fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used primarily to treat severe pain.

Fentanyl is a growing concern across Canada as the number of deaths and overdoses from the drug continues to climb.

A recent report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse said as many as 655 Canadians may have died between 2009 and 2014 from fentanyl overdoses.

Health Canada's drug analysis labs have also been detecting fentanyl more and more often in street drugs being sent for testing by law enforcement agencies.

Calgary police say 145 people in Alberta have already died from suspected fentanyl overdoses this year compared with 120 last year. Arrests are also up. Police in Calgary have made 34 fentanyl busts this year compared with 12 in all of 2014.

Tyabji-Santana's mother, Judi Tyabji, was elected to the B.C. legislature for the Liberal party in 1991 and she was the first woman to have a child while in office.

An affair with then-Liberal leader Gordon Wilson stunned the party two years later. The two eventually married and founded a new party called the Progressive Democratic Alliance, but it folded after the 1996 election.

Tyabji lost custody of her three children, including Kasimir, in 1994 to her ex-husband Kim Sandana.

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