Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jan 2005
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Toronto Star


Flow Of Drugs Southward On The Rise, But Trade Northward Has Been Stable 
For Years, Official Explains

OTTAWA - Canada is now the largest single supplier of pot, speed and 
steroids to the United States, says a top customs official. American 
authorities are making more seizures both at and south of the border, says 
George Webb, head of counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation for the 
Canadian Border Services Agency.

At the same time, the flow of illegal drugs to Canada from the U.S. appears 
to have stabilized, according to the agency. Major drug busts at the 
Canadian border have been fairly consistent since the mid-1990s.

"In the old days, the flow of drugs was northbound, coming out of the 
United States," Webb said today. "That . . . has changed.

"We are now their biggest drug supplier, whether it be B.C. bud, 
methamphetamines or steroids."

One American seizure last year yielded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency 
more than $500 million worth of methamphetamines.

Last year, there were 974 large seizures of drugs coming in to Canada, with 
a total street value of about $269.7 million, the agency reports.

That's down marginally from the 1,063 seizures in 2003, when the value was 
pegged at $600 million. There were 932 significant seizures in 2002 worth 
$292.8 million and 873 seizures in 2001 worth $865 million.

Shipments of processed ecstasy into Canada have fallen off in the past year 
or two, Webb said, while criminals have begun importing raw materials and 
processing the drug in-country.

Street values, as set by the RCMP, vary depending on the kind of drugs 
seized, the market and the size of individual seizures.

"The values go up and down like a yo-yo," Webb said. "If we miss one of 
those 40-foot containerloads of hash, trust me, within a month we know it - 
we see the street value of it dropping."

The figures represent major drug busts; they don't include seizures below a 
kilogram of marijuana, 10 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine, 500 grams 
of hashish or 100 tabs of ecstasy.

Nearly 48 per cent of all drug seizures, large and small, were made through 
the postal system; another 31 per cent were at land border points.

While only 15 per cent were made at airports, they represent more than half 
the value - 51 per cent - of drugs seized.

On the flip side of drug deals, currency seizures in Canada have risen 
since Ottawa put restrictions on unreported money transfers over $10,000 
several years ago.

Proceeds of crime seizures have totalled more than $13 million in each of 
the last two years. Most were made in British Columbia and Ontario.
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