Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service
Referenced: World Drug Report 2009


Gangs Drive Increase in Meth, Ecstasy Production

Asian and "traditional" biker gangs have dramatically stepped up
production of illegal party drugs in Canada, turning the country into
a significant exporter, the United Nations said Wednesday.

In a global survey of illegal drug production and trafficking, Canada
is identified as a "primary" world source of ecstasy, and likely the
biggest supplier of methamphetamine "uppers" to Australia and Japan.

"Canada has become a major trafficking hub for meth and ecstasy,"
according to the World Drug Report 2009, by the Vienna-based UN Office
on Drugs and Crime.

"By 2006, law-enforcement intelligence noted that Asian organized
crime and traditional outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in Canada had
increased the amount of methamphetamine they manufactured and
exported, primarily into the United States, but also to Oceania and
East and South-East Asia."

Most of the ecstasy produced in Canada was thought to be destined for
the United States, Australia and Japan, the 306-page report says.

"In 2007 ... 50 per cent of domestically produced ecstasy was
trafficked outside of Canada," it said.

Antonio Maria Costa, the UN's anti-drug czar, said Canada's rise as a
trafficker results from a "perfect storm" of events involving
law-enforcement levels and ease of access to ingredients known as
"precursor chemicals."

While a "robust" clampdown in the Netherlands rolled back ecstasy
production in that country, the U.S. banned over-the-counter sales of
certain precursor chemicals, he said. In Canada, meanwhile, Asian
gangs used their contacts in China and elsewhere to import precursors
and to develop trafficking routes in Asia and beyond.

The report says Canada is fourth among countries ranked for seizures
of ecstasy-group substances. It is fifth in ranking for seizures of
amphetamine-group substances.

Justice Minister Doug Nicholson said illegal-drug production in Canada
could be reined in through tougher trafficking penalties -- but added
Liberal senators were holding up a bill providing for that.

"We're at our second attempt, as a minority government, to get our
anti-drug bill through Parliament. So if any good comes out of this UN
report, it's that it may push the Liberals to give us a hand to get
the bill passed." 
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