Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 2004
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The StarPhoenix
Author: Kevin O'Connor
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


REGINA -- A dramatic crime trend from last year is expected to
continue throughout 2004, police say -- cocaine has replaced Talwin
and Ritalin as Regina's No. 1 drug problem.

"The information we've received is that cocaine is growing and growing
and growing in Regina," said Sgt. Jerry Good of the Regina Police Service.

Good, who recently joined the Regina integrated drug unit, a joint
venture of the city police and RCMP, said there has been a dramatic
shift since he was on the drug squad for three years in the late 1980s.

"Talwin was rampant, running down the streets of Regina," he said.
"Eighty per cent to 90 per cent of our work was Ts and Rs."

On the other hand, Good said, cocaine was virtually a non-issue from
1986 to 1989.

Now, Talwin and Ritalin are still in demand, but most of the illegal
drug traffic is believed to involve cocaine, Good said.

"Now it's about 75 per cent cocaine, 10 per cent marijuana and a
smattering of morphine and Talwin and Ritalin," he said.

Talwin and Ritalin are two prescription drugs sold illegally that can
be combined and injected for a opium-type high.

Throughout the 1980s and '90s, large quantities of the drug were sold
at drug houses in the city. Regina was, essentially, one of the Talwin
and Ritalin capitals of Canada.

During one sentencing last year, court heard some of the drug houses
in the city did $7,200 in business a night.

But much of that activity was shut down in recent years, with police
arresting significant Talwin and Ritalin dealers.

Earlier this week, Gregory Cote, a Regina man described as one of the
city's major Talwin and Ritalin dealers, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years
in prison on number of trafficking charges.

Court heard that last year another large Talwin and Ritalin
distributor, Allie Gader, was sentenced to four years and nine months
for trafficking in 2001 and 2002.

Since those arrests, police in Regina have made a number of large
seizures of cocaine, in both the powder and crack form.

What has spurred the trade of cocaine in Regina has been a dramatic
price drop, Good said. A gram of cocaine that was $200 a few years ago
can now be purchased for $100.

Good said although there are differences, some aspects of the trade
haven't changed. For instance, many drug users finance their habits
through property crimes. Others raise money for drugs through

One of the disturbing elements of today's cocaine business, however,
it that dealers are targeting a wider segment of the population, he

"We don't find high income people using Talwin and Ritalin," Good
said. "It's a drug used by poor people. Cocaine is used by everyone in
every class."
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