Pubdate: Mon, 13 Sep 2004
Source: Whitehorse Star (CN YK)
Copyright: 2004 Whitehorse Star
Author: Sarah Elizabeth Brown
Bookmark: (Outlaw Bikers)


Drugs being sold in dark corners of Whitehorse bars and out of local
crack houses first go through the hands of Hells Angels and other
"organized crime" elements, the RCMP say.

"We believe that the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs down south
are resulting in drugs on the streets of Whitehorse," Sgt. Guy Rook,
spokesman for Yukon's M-Division, said in a recent interview.

"One of those organized motorcycle gangs is the Hells

While the Angels are by no means the only group with ties to drug
trafficking, especially the large-scale movement of cocaine, small
numbers of them have come north.

"We've had a couple visits, one in 2003 and one again this summer, by
members of the Hells Angels wearing Hells Angels insignia," said Rook
of the bikers' weekend Yukon jaunts.

"They came through the Yukon travelling and the stay was brief."

Other police sources have said Hells Angels members control some local
cocaine trade and will periodically arrive in Whitehorse to check on
business before heading back south.

Drug and intelligence officers, along with other law enforcement
agencies the RCMP work with, were aware the Angels were here, and
watched them during their weekend stay, Rook said.

His comments come after a senior Whitehorse detachment sergeant told
audience members at a public meeting on the downtown drug problem last
Wednesday evening that looking at the nature of some of Whitehorse's
crime, there "may be ties to organized crime."

Rook noted that many different types of crime have direct and indirect
links to organized crime.

Even low-level crimes such as car break-ins are often tied to
organized crime such as drug trafficking as addicts search for items
to steal for quick drug money.

As well, violence and intimidation between drug dealers and users are
stock in trade with drug peddling.

"It's a network of supply," Rook said of the drug trade. "People who
are responsible for importing it, provide it to other people who
provide it to other people and eventually it makes the street market."

Currently, investigating gangs controlling the Canadian drug trade is
a top priority for the RCMP nationally.

"We really focus on the big picture," said Rook. "It's activities that
are happening down south that result in drugs coming here. When
members of outlaw motorcycle gangs or organized crime are on the
streets of Whitehorse, we know about it; we monitor that."

Police target people active in the local drug trade, and through their
investigations try to make links to suppliers down south.

"Information gathering and sharing are really crucial to our efforts
to combat organized crime and outlaw motorcycle gangs," said Rook. "We
welcome Yukoners reporting on gang activities or criminal

Residents who spot someone up to no good can call their local
detachment. Those wanting to keep their name out of it can make
anonymous calls to Crime Stoppers or the RCMP's national toll-free
number on organized crime (1-877-660-4321).

"We recognize it takes civic courage to come forward, and that's why
we welcome anonymous information."

According to a national RCMP report about the Canadian drug trade in
2003, cocaine seizures along the country's highways showed trafficking
groups in Western Canada are major suppliers for the rest of the country.

Last year, police seized 1,229 kilograms of cocaine in Canada, and a
further 2,511 kilograms destined for the country.

The RCMP report says Colombian cocaine traffickers sent shipments to
Canadian groups, mainly the Hells Angels and Italian-based crime groups.

Other groups of Caribbean origin and "various Canadian entrepreneurs"
import varying amounts of cocaine. Those groups, along with
Asian-based groups distribute the drug throughout Canada.

Commercial trucks are the most common method of smuggling cocaine into
Canada over the U.S. border, and much of cocaine smuggling to Canada
from the U.S. is connecting to the export of marijuana from Canada
south to the U.S.

Health Canada reports cocaine is only the second-most widely abused
illegal drug in Canada.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin