Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 2004
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Kevin O'Connor
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


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 city police spokesman Sgt. Gerald Good.

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 & Rs."

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

Now, Ts & Rs 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 sold up to $7,200 a night of the drugs.

But much of that activity was shut down in recent years, with police making 
a series of arrests against significant T & R dealers.

Earlier this week, Gregory Cote, a Regina man described as one of the 
city's major Talwin and Ritalin dealers, was sentenced to 31/2 years in 
prison on a number of trafficking charges.

Court heard that last year another large T & R distributor, Allie Gader, 
was sentenced to four years and nine months for trafficking between 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 prostitution.

One thing that's disturbing about today's cocaine business, however, is 
that it is being targeted to a wider segment of the population than other 
drugs, he said.

"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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