PLUG MAIL-SECURITY HOLES, EX-HEAD OF CSIS WARNS
Conduits for criminals, terrorists
OTTAWA -- Loopholes that allow guns and drugs to be mailed into Canada
pose a security risk and must be "plugged" to thwart criminals and
terrorists using the system, according to the former head of the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Reid Morden yesterday told Sun
Media law enforcement has been aware for years that the mail was an
avenue used by criminals and that terrorists could be using it to move
illegal goods into Canada.
"People who are associated with the terrorist business move drugs
because it costs money to run operations," said Morden, who now heads
up his own security consultant firm Reid Morden and Associates.
"Heaven forbid if somebody even wanted to get some kind of a small
weapon of one kind or another ... not necessarily for an operation
that would take place in Canada, but perhaps so that somebody can take
an airplane and go somewhere else and use it," he said.
"That is more likely the problem."
Morden's comments come after Sun Media revealed that Customs seizure
reports from its five international mail inspection depots across the
country show guns and drugs were being routinely mailed into Canada.
Morden said the federal government should put international mail
inspection at the top of its security priority list.
"Clearly, people are prepared to use the mail for all sorts of other
things these days, and I would think it would be moving toward the
front burner. We plugged a number of holes in getting people and
things across the border," Morden said.
Security Minister Anne McLellan was not available for comment
yesterday, but spokesman Alex Swann said reports of how the mail
system is being abused by criminals is a concern.
"The minister and the agency continue to recognize that this is one
area where we need to be vigilant. We've made investments and we'll
continue to review trends in this area and we'll do what's appropriate
with respect to law enforcement," Swann said.
Alliance MP Rahim Jaffer said increased security measures being
implemented at the border would warrant Canada Customs and Revenue
Agency X-ray all international mail, not just the ones determined
Customs officers are prohibited by law from opening mail weighing less
than 30 grams.
The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has made 426 drug seizures at
the Winnipeg post office between Jan. 1, 2002 and Oct. 19, 2003.
DRUG SEIZURES VALUE
Steroids 287 $96,585.78
Ephedrine 109 $33,642.00
Valium 3 $786.00
Marijuana 2 $3,100.00
Morphine base 2 $32,256.00
Morphine 1 $20,000.00
Barbiturate 1 $600.00
Amphetamine 1 $300.00
Khat 1 $33.60
Other drugs 19 $1,902.00
-- Canada Customs and Revenue Agency