Pubdate: Tue, 16 May 2006
Source: Compass, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2006 The Compass
Author: Cst. Marc Trioreau

You & Your Police


A large quantity of drugs enters our country, and especially our 
province, by boat each year. Drug smuggling is big business, often 
involving many people and a lot of money and equipment. Most of the 
time large-scale operations can easily be detected by those familiar 
with normal marine activities.

The RCMP's Coastal Watch Program, in the fight against drug 
importation, wants to enlist the eyes and ears of people in coastal 
communities. The program's goal is two-fold: to teach people what to 
look for, and to help them effectively transmit any information to the police.

If you are a recreational or professional boater, fuel dock 
attendant, or vessel broker, or if you live or work near the water, 
you can play an important role in the Coastal Watch Program. By 
reporting suspicious or illegal activities, you can help cut the flow 
of illicit drugs to our youth and to the rest of the community.

How do the drugs get into Canada? About 10 per cent of the cocaine 
and 50 per cent of the cannabis imported into Canada arrives by 
water. Every year, many tons of marijuana are seized from vessels 
attempting to smuggle it into the country.

Traditionally, it has been the role of the police to fight the war 
against drugs. To be successful, however, we need your help. You can 
reduce the supply of illicit drugs in your area by being aware of 
what is going on in your community and reporting any suspicious activities.

What should you look for?

Drug importers have access to unlimited resources. The variety of 
equipment they use is limited only by their imagination. Pay 
particular attention to vessels that:

* Operate outside normal fishing/shipping lanes.

* Operate outside normal fishing times.

* Run at night without lights.

* Travel to and from a drug source country

* Do not carry the right equipment for the work they are supposed to be doing

* Appear to be beyond the owner's means

* Have a large or concealed cargo capacity

* Off-load cargo in unusual or isolated areas.

These and other observations may lead to the detection of a mother 
ship or a drug smuggling operation.

There may be legitimate reasons for the activities you observe, but 
your judgment and the circumstances at the time will help you decide 
whether you should report what you have seen.

What should you do?

If you see anything suspicious or learn about any illegal activity 
related to drug importation by water, please call your nearest RCMP 
detachment. Tell them that you want to report some observations in 
connection with the Coastal/Airport Watch Program.

Give any information you have on:

* Vessel/aircraft (description, size, colour, flag, location, etc.)

* Person or persons

* Any licence number, visible markings, registration details

* Nature of activity

* Times and dates of occurrence.

Any information you give will be handled confidentially. Take notes 
if possible. Do not rule out any information because you feel it may 
not be important. Information that may appear meaningless to you may 
be invaluable to us. Information that cannot be used right now will 
be kept and will remain available for the future.

If you would like to receive more information about the Coastal Watch 
Program please give us a call. Members of the district are available 
to do presentations about this program to any group requesting it.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman