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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Restrictions urged on materials, equipment used to make drugs; Major bust proves the need for tighter restrictions, RCMP says

    The RCMP says the recent bust of a major Richmond drug lab is confirmation that Ottawa needs to clamp down on legal loopholes facilitating the manufacture of synthetic drugs.

    At a news conference Tuesday, RCMP displayed drugs and weapons seized after an 18-month investigation. The haul included 14,000 ecstasy pills, three kilograms of MDMA pow-d er, six kg of ketamine, $250,000 in cash and several long-barrelled shotguns and rifles.

    There was also an industrial-grade mixer, a pill press and barrels used to contain various "precursor chemicals" — many of which are legal to import, sell and possess under current legislation.

    "Importing a multi-stage pill press that produces thousands of pills per hour would have no legal use unless used in major pharmaceutical manufacturing," said Chief Supt. Bob Harriman.

    B.C. Solicitor-General Kash Heed said he has asked the federal government to restrict the availability of such equipment, as well as precursor materials including ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and methylamine hydrochloride.

    "I'm advocating for changes in the law," said Heed. "We need to come down hard and fast on the flow of illicit drug precursors in Canada. We need regulations that enable us to respond quickly to rapid changes in drug crime trend."

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Whalley said in a phone interview that Washington state implemented regulations in 2005 that require vendors of drugs such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to report customer information and quantities to the state.

    Customers buying more than 10 mg must register and present identification.

    Those caught with large amounts could spend two to 20 years in prison.

    "It substantially decreased the number of methamphetamine labs in the state," said Whalley. "If drug manufacturers are unable to buy large quantities of pseudoephedrine, they can't make methamphetamine."

    Whalley said the B.C.-Washington state border sees the most ecstasy and MDMA seizures in the country, and figures increased after the new regulations.

    Earlier this year, the United Nations released a world drug report that named Canada as a major source country for synthetic drugs. Most precursor chemicals are imported from India and China and finished products are exported back to Asia and the U.S.

    Nine people from Richmond, Vancouver and Abbotsford, including two women and two with ties to Asian organized crime, face numerous drug charges in connection with the Richmond drug-lab bust.

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 11:31 pm
    Canwest News Services


    This is related to This bust.


  1. chillinwill
    Re: Restrictions urged on materials, equipment used to make drugs; Major bust proves

    B.C. calls on Ottawa to tighten drug laws

    Only federal government can make it illegal to possess chemicals used to make drugs, Solicitor-General says

    B.C.'s Solicitor-General is challenging the federal Conservative government to do more to “close the loopholes” that allow criminals to produce such destructive synthetic drugs as ecstasy and crystal meth.

    Kash Heed urged Ottawa Tuesday to crack down on access to the chemicals used to manufacture such drugs, saying only the federal government can engineer the sweeping legislation required to make it illegal to possess them.

    “What [B.C.] can do within our powers, we're doing,” he told reporters at a news conference where the RCMP announced the outcome of an 18-month investigation that saw the arrests of nine people importing ingredients – two of them linked to Asian organized crime.

    “What we cannot do is close the loopholes that allow criminals to bring in precursor materials that could be turned into ecstasy, known as MDMA, and other drugs that are allowing criminals to prosper while our citizens suffer,” said Mr. Heed, reading from a prepared statement.

    “We need Ottawa to do that. We need Ottawa to have tougher controls and tighter regulations on precursors in Canada.”

    During the news conference, police displayed two shotguns and four rifles, thousands of dollars in cash – a total of $250,000 was seized in the investigation – and compounds used to produce illegal synthetic drugs.

    The RCMP are recommending various charges against the suspects – two women and seven men – who have yet to be identified.

    Superintendent Brian Cantera, officer in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Branch, offered some support to the minister, the former West Vancouver police chief.

    “Additional regulations on precursor chemicals and equipment utilized to manufacture synthetic drugs would give police the tools we need to keep these highly addictive and destructive drugs off our streets,” Supt. Cantera said.

    Mr. Heed saluted the work of the Mounties on the file.

    “What I am not satisfied with is the fact that these precursors are still available through these loopholes and criminal organizations exploit those loopholes and, as a result, set up shop here in British Columbia,” he said.

    The minister said his government has written to the federal ministers of Health, Justice and Public Safety on the matter, but that additional lobbying is required.

    “We will be more vocal about what we need them to do to assist us to destroy these networks,” he said.

    Mr. Heed outlined a number of necessary steps, including regulations that allow for a quick response to changes in drug crime.

    “We don't have two, three, five or even 10 years to wait. While we review and examine, criminal gangs are importing, manufacturing and selling millions of dollars worth of drugs that enslave people, destroy families and ruin our communities,” he said.

    There was no response by press time from the regional office for federal ministers in B.C.

    Ian Bailey
    December 22, 2009
    Globe And Mail
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