CANADIAN ECSTASY AND POT HEADING TO JAPAN
OTTAWA -- Canada is becoming a major exporter of narcotics to Japan, according to an RCMP intelligence report, and this country's links with Colombian drug cartels are multiplying.
The national force's "Drug Situation in Canada" report for 2004 says Canada now ranks second as a source of methamphetamine seized in Japan (44 kilograms), after having no real presence there only two years ago.
It also placed third in ecstasy shipments discovered, with 50,000 tablets, and accounted for 10 per cent of all marijuana seized (60 kg).
"Because of the large amount of marijuana from Canada in 2004 and the fact that couriers are Canadian and Japanese, Japanese authorities believe criminal syndicates are involved," reads the report, completed in September.
Authorities believe organized crime groups in both countries are working together to create "a supply and demand relationship" in Japan.
Compared with the amount of cocaine moving between Canada and Colombia, however, the numbers in Asia appear miniscule.
"Major operations concluded in 2004 brought to light relationships between Canadian organized crime elements and Colombian cartels, and conspiracies to import multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine to Canada on a regular basis," the report says.
While Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, Haiti and Jamaica are the most common transit points, the amount of cocaine seized at the land border entering British Columbia doubled last year.
Most of the seizures are made on small, private sailboats, however, including one 542-kilogram shipment stopped in Nova Scotia, and another 750-kilogram stash destined for Canada that was intercepted off the coast of Puerto Rico.
"In general, traffickers try to unload their shipments in isolated areas along the Canadian coast in order to avoid inspection at ports of entry,"
the report says.
Marijuana production "continues to tax" law-enforcement resources across the country, the RCMP points out, citing the more than 1.5-million plants and 33,000 kilograms in bulk pot seized coast to coast.
The plant total is the highest recorded in the report's statistics, which go back 10 years.
The RCMP says "ethnic barriers" continue to fall in the marijuana industry, as more groups find it useful to work together to "ensure the success of the conspiracy."
The Mounties also address the issue of drug trafficking and terrorism, saying there is no evidence the two are linked in Canada.
"It is important to note that tracking the ultimate destination of proceeds of crime is a challenge no matter what the nature of the investigation," the report adds. "For this reason, we cannot fully discount the possibility that some portion of drug trafficking proceeds generated in Canada supports terrorist activity."